March 2017 Volume LII Number 2
UNECDM Pediatric Interested Dental Students (PIDS)
By students: Lynne Cataldo (founding President), Priya Katwala, Minjin Yoo
Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) once said, "The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go." We are the up and coming Pediatric Interested Dental Students (PIDS) organization from the University of New England. It is an honor to be an official pre-doctoral chapter of this wonderful organization. The College of Dental Medicine was established in Portland, Maine, in 2013, and now has four classes of 64 students. Students spend time in the spacious, state-of-the-art simulation clinic the first two years prepping teeth. The last two years, student doctors work in the UNE Oral Health Center, which has a pediatric dental department consisting of one full-time and two part- time pediatric dentists.
The aim of UNE College of Dental Medicine is to improve the health of Northern New England and shape the future of dentistry through excellence in education, discovery and service. An exciting part of our curriculum includes community-based education rotations to federally qualified health centers, non-profit clinics, rural private practices or to Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia. UNE also received a $600,000 grant from Delta Dental of Maine to help link students with practice opportunities in rural and underserved areas through an outreach coordinator and generous scholarships.
We feature a monthly program spotlight and students are encour- aged to extern, and interview at these post-graduate pediatric training programs. Our overarching institution values have helped to shape our chapters philosophy. Our mission is as follows:
The purpose of the University of New England PIDS is to promote a better understanding and appreciation of dentistry for infants, children and people with special needs among dental students. Its focus is on fostering a relationship between dental students and the pediatric commu- nity through educational presentations, interprofessional network- ing, and community outreach projects.
There are endless opportunities to incorporate fresh ideas into our organization. Our executive board includes a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and Graduate and Professional Student Affairs (GAPSA) Counselor. Together, we discuss topics related to pediatric dentistry in our monthly PIDS Papers and review with faculty advi- sor, Dr. Patrick Wilson. We also do an evidence-based journal review (SDF, lasers, pulpal therapy materials, traumatology), guideline reviews and case studies to keep us knowledgeable about the latest trends in pediatric dentistry. Organization activities are highlighted in our PIDS TODAY annual newsletter.
Since September 2015, we have run an oral health literacy pro- gram called the Tooth Fairies on the Ferry, which has landed a $1,000 grant from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. PIDS members and volunteers from the UNE Westbrook College of Health Professions-Hygiene and Nursing students visit elementary students twice a semester. We have delivered oral health goody bags and nutri- tion/hygiene education to more than 200 children.
This group strives to increase health literacy and prevent the societal, personal and economic consequences to poor oral health. Vol- unteer activities have been aimed at targeting vulnerable populations such mothers, infants and children. The message from the American Academy of Pediatrics was incorporated into our new pilot program, Book, Brush, Bedtime, at the Portland WIC for National Literacy month in September. We had the pleasure of counseling parents on healthy eating and behavioral changes they can make to improve their child’s quality of life. By educating others, we learn how to connect and tailor our motivational interviewing skills. We have also had information booths at a local mall health fair and a Here Comes Santa event where we mingled with families and distributed donated dental supplies.
We have had a lot of fun this year with programs such as our Cookie and Learn, Halloween candy buy-back, Lunch with Colgate, and Toys for Tots. Next semester will be even more packed with par- ticipation in events like our Public Health project, How Can I Keep my Teeth SUPER Healthy?, coloring contest, Mini Medical-Dental pediatric symposium and annual UNE Children’s Health Fair during Children’s Dental Health Month. Our organization will also be represented at the Yankee Dental Pediatric Symposium 2017 by one student on a grant to attend and report back on the latest updates discussed. In addition, there is ongoing research by members on developing an oral health intervention in the special needs population. PIDS has had outstanding leadership exhibited by all. We believe we can continue making a difference in the lives of children and special needs popula- tions in our community.
Traditionally, we have one member and faculty attend the AAPD Annual Session each year with support from the University indi- vidual grants. This year we will have chapter funds available to send one student to AAPD 2017 in Washington, D.C., from May 25-28.
The AAPD Annual Sessions are a massive launch pad of ideas on a national level. In addition, our Vice President Priya Katwala had the opportunity of meeting with AAPD Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rutkauskas while working as an ASDA National Chicago Extern. Knowing that there are over 10,000 members in the AAPD, and only growing each year is incredible. It is exciting to be able to network with local pediatric dentists who have invited us in to their office to shadow. We look forward to meeting many more AAPD members nationwide in the future.
Last but not least, we would like to extend our gratitude to Dr. Patrick Wilson, D.M.D., UNE Pediatric Dentistry Assistant Clinical Professor who is a great resource and mentor. Rebecca Carr, Assistant Director of Community Based Education, has also been an essential link to public health groups and has offered guidance with the Tooth Fairies on the Ferry outreach activities. We appreciate all the sup- port from the UNE dental community on all our endeavors. We look forward to the upcoming year and beyond. And, please don’t forget to like our Facebook Forum: PIDS!
Click here for a PDF version of this article.