Students and Faculty Travel to Jamaica
for Annual Outreach Trip
More than 40 dental student and faculty volunteers from the University
of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry traveled to Jamaica to
participate in an annual humanitarian dentistry trip. During the school's fall
break, the group spent a week in the Jamaican town of Ocho Rios where they
provided free dental care and education at local clinics and schools.
Over the course of the visit, hundreds of
adults and children from the area received oral health education and care.
Screenings, restorative treatments, and extractions were common procedures at
four different clinic sites. The volunteers also visited local schools to give
young students instruction on proper oral hygiene.
“We were able to help a lot of people who
badly needed dental care during our trip," says Clint Taura, a member of
the D.D.S. Class of 2013 and a trip participant.
Students and faculty brought their own dental
instruments and educational tools to use throughout the week. Henry Schein also
contributed to the success of the trip with a generous donation of supplies. The
Jamaica trip was coordinated with the help of Great Shape! Inc., a Jamaican
nonprofit focused on humanitarian dentistry and vision care, as well as
Doc: Dentist Remains a Player on Stage
Back in mid-90s, John Whittemore was
faced with a tough decision about his professional future. A third-year student
at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry, he was
also one of Memphis' hottest young guitarists. He'd been nominated for a local
Grammy Premier Player award and was being enticed with an offer to join a major
label band in Los Angeles.
"In that moment, I suppose my
life could've tipped in a totally different direction," says Dr.
Whittemore. He would ultimately choose dentistry, but he would not turn his
back on music entirely.
"I admire John for being able
to do both things, and do both things so well," says Scott Bomar, leader
of noted R&B band the Bo-Keys, Memphis Grammy chapter trustee, and a former
Dr. Whittemore band mate. "He's one of those guys whose brain and his
hands are wired in a very special way."
Dr. Whittemore grew up in Mobile,
Alabama. He came to Memphis in 1987 to attend Rhodes College where he collaborated
with local art-rock outfit Neighborhood Texture Jam. Inspired by a fellow
musician friend who'd enrolled in medical school, he decided to give dentistry
a shot. The parallels between playing guitar and working on teeth struck the
proverbial chord. "Playing guitar or working as a dentist, you've got to
deal with people and use your hands in precise little ways," he says.
"So it was a perfect thing for me."
While going through the second year
of dental school, Whittemore had his crossroads moment and considered quitting
school to pursue music professionally. "I thought about it, but I'm not
much of a quitter," says Dr. Whittemore. "So I really plugged back into
school and dentistry."
After graduating in 1997, Dr. Whittemore
went to work for Mickey Bernstein. D.D.S. of the Germantown Dental Group. Five
years later, he became a partner in the practice, and now is one of its two
As he established himself in the
dental world, Dr. Whittemore continued to make meaningful music. He helped
launch garage rock legend Jack Yarber's post-Oblivians band The Tearjerkers. He
also formed the blues-rock band Delta Queens and performed with Papa Top's West
Coast Turnaround, among others. All the while, he makes time to study dental
manuals and journals. "I take dentistry freakishly seriously," says Dr.
Whittemore. "I care tremendously about what I do and about doing it
Dr. Whittemore has more projects in
the offing. There are limits, of course, to his musical aspirations. Given his
professional obligations Whittemore can't tour and has often been forced to
cede his place in various bands to players who can.
"That's the sad part of a
serious day job," says Dr. Whittemore. "But, ultimately, I'm a really
lucky person in that I have two great passions in teeth and music, and I've
been able to make it all work."
New York University College of
Dentistry, Foster Care Agency Partner to Improve Children’s Health
The New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Graham Windham, a
local NYC-based foster care agency, have partnered to provide regular dental
care to more than 650 children since spring of 2011. The success of the
program, Partners Against Caries (PAC), both for the participating foster
children and the dental school students, may serve as a model for other dental
schools' outreach programs. PAC's successes were outlined in an oral as well as
a poster session at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National
Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, October 20-23, 2012.
"The program has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for both the
children and families in foster care, as well as for the NYUCD dental
students," says study author Elizabeth A. Best, MPH, Department of Pediatric
Dentistry. "The pediatric patients enjoy receiving care from the dental
students, who are very engaged with the children."
For the dental students, the experience has been eye-opening. "Most of the
dental students have little knowledge of the foster care system," comments
Ms. Best. "At NYUCD, we are now graduating dental students who have worked
with this population, and are aware of their unique health care needs,"
Poor dental and oral health can affect children's growth, school performance
and attendance, and can contribute to physical and mental health problems.
According to Healthy Foster Care America, approximately 35% of children and
teens enter foster care with significant dental and oral health problems.
"Dental health has been described as a "window" to a child's
well-being," says Mitchell Rubin, MD, FAAP, Medical Director, Graham
Windham. "We believe that an optimal dental state is a necessary
ingredient for the interrelated spectrum of medical, mental and social
health," Dr. Rubin says.
Low-income children, especially those in foster care, are less likely to
receive regular dental care, and, as a result, face a greater risk of tooth
decay. These children, as they grow older, are susceptible to a myriad of oral
health related problems – from heart disease, diabetes, and oral cancer, to low
self-esteem and depression.
The abstract presented at the AAP conference, "An Approach to Dental
Healthcare in an Inner-City Foster Care Population: The Partners Against Caries
(PAC) Program," describes the partnership, which shifted dental services
for these children from multiple providers to a single "dental home"
in spring 2011. The goal was to improve care quality and continuity for the
participating foster children, and to provide a unique learning experience for
of California, San Francisco, Announces Survey of Underrepresented Minority
University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry and Bronx-Lebanon
Hospital Center is excited to announce the roll out of a Survey of Underrepresented
Minority Dentists in the United States. This is the first ever nation-wide
survey of African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaskan-Native
dentists. This study hopes to understand the significant contributions of
minority providers to oral health care, as well as understand what factors
drive minority dentists to success and understand practice patterns. The survey
is a chance for you to voice your opinion about critical issues facing minority
providers today. If you receive the survey in the mail we thank you in advance
for your participation. Should you have any questions about the study, please
call Alexis Cooke, MPH at 1-877-231-0863, or Beth Mertz, PhD, Principal
Investigator, by phone at (415) 502-5759.