More than 500 volunteers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry (UAB SOD), the UAB School of Nursing, Cahaba Valley Health Care and other local dentists, health agencies and companies cared for more than 350 people recently as part of the first UAB Dentistry Cares Community Day.
During this charitable event, UAB’s volunteer team treat basic dental needs for low-income and underserved people in the Birmingham-area community at no cost. Treatments included cleanings, restorations and extractions.
“The bottom line is that this is a need for a large part of our population in this area, and we want to help make a positive impact and contribution to our community,” says Michael S. Reddy, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., Dean of UAB SOD, one of the first schools of dentistry in the country to offers these kinds of services to underserved members of the community in a daylong, charitable event.
“Oral health care goes beyond a smile, and research shows that the infection and inflammation that can occur in the mouth affect our overall health,” Dr. Reddy says. “We’re privileged to do what we can today to help those in the community in need.”
On-site wellness activities, including blood pressure checks and oral cancer screenings, were made available to patients. School of Nursing students provided additional health care education to patients, reviewed medical histories and more. Each patient also received extensive entry and exit oral health care counseling.
“Our school has a saying that ‘to whom much is given much is required,’” said Conan Davis, D.M.D., chair of UAB Dentistry Cares and Director of Community Collaborations. “We’ve been given skills, abilities and resources, and we want to give back to our community. We believe it is part of our duty.”
UAB SOD worked with Cahaba Valley Health Care, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to quality health care for the underserved, and One Roof, a networking and referral agency of service providers for homeless, to coordinate the event.