Bulletin of Dental Education

Germanna Community College Teams Up With Other Health Science Students to Provide Care to Underserved Populations

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Dental hygiene and dental assisting students from Germanna Community College (GCC) participated in a remote area medical (RAM) project with University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine (UConn SDM) dental students. The students volunteered to participate in the RAM clinic over the course of a weekend in Montross, VA. 

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GCC dental hygiene and dental assisting students worked with third- and fourth-year dental students from UConn SDM, pharmacy students from Virginia Commonwealth University, pre-med students from the College of William and Mary and University of Virginia and nursing students from Rappahannock Community College. The event served over 200 patients and provided over $250,000 worth of free care.

Patient cases varied from person to person. For example, one dental patient had a severe maxillary/palatal abscess. This was contributing to an uncontrolled blood sugar issue. They came in with a blood sugar of 523 mg/dL, experienced a hypoglycemic episode and then was able to stabilize a blood sugar of 220 mg/dL, long enough for a surgeon and one of the assistants to get the infected tooth removed.

GCC dental hygiene student Jordan Green and Ariyana Canty, RDH, M.P.H., an Adjunct Professor at GCC, identified a draining abscess on a five-year-old girl. This was an infection that could have been life-threatening if not treated. Prof. Canty advocated for her to receive a course of antibiotics when the dental faculty from UConn SDM deemed the situation was too much for the setting. As a team, they educated the mom on the need to have this tooth treated as soon as the antibiotics were completed.

Another GCC dental hygiene student Alexis Snyder identified a patient who would require antibiotic coverage for dental care to prevent subsequent infections. Onsite volunteers were able to work with the medical staff on hand to get the patient on antibiotics to ensure the highest quality of care.

This event was heavily coordinated by the local Area Health Education Center (AHEC).One of the GCC dental hygiene students is an AHEC Scholar and below is what she had to say about the opportunity. 

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Pictured: Victoria Dempsey, GCC Dental Hygiene Student and AHEC Scholar.

“I just completed RAM in Montross, VA, as a volunteer dental hygiene student. This was my first time as a dental hygiene student participating in a nonprofit organization, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything was very organized, and all of the volunteers were very helpful and encouraging. The patients I provided care to were so grateful and happy to be able to get the care they’ve been needing. I believe that we all have the ability to help each other in a variety of different ways, and it was a privilege to be able to use my knowledge and skills that I have learned to give back to others. This experience has been rewarding. I have always enjoyed giving back to the community, and I plan to be a lifelong server.”     

          – Victoria Dempsey, GCC Dental Hygiene Student

Courtesy of Germanna Community College Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene Program

Published on October 11, 2023

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