Awards, Outreach, Students

Free Student-led Dental Clinic wins National Leadership Award

The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) recently awarded the UNC School of Dentistry’s Dental Student Health Action Coalition Clinic – known as Dental SHAC – with this year’s E. Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award. The award is valued at $5,000.

“Through SHAC the ethical obligation to serve low income underserved populations is cultivated and the rewards of serving a diverse patient population are experienced,” said Dr. Lew Lampiris, director of the school’s Dentistry in Service to Communities (DISC) program. “SHAC provides future generations of dentists an experiential opportunity to begin a lifelong habit of community service.”

The UNC Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) is a student-led organization that has been serving the local communities of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill since the 1960s. The evening clinic, held on most Wednesdays when school is in session, occurs in Tarrson Hall at the UNC School of Dentistry. Provided care includes preventive education, screenings, fillings, cleanings and extractions. In fiscal year 2013-14, it’s estimated Dental SHAC provided $95,000 in free care to the local community.

“Volunteering at Dental SHAC has presented me with some of the most rewarding and formative experiences of my entire education, which I know is a sentiment shared by many of my fellow classmates,” said Nick Baker, DDS Candidate 2016 and Dental SHAC clinic coordinator. “The entire leadership team is incredibly grateful to the wonderful UNC School of Dentistry faculty, staff and student volunteers for their support in helping us provide this service.”

The Tarrson award is given to dental school programs demonstrating excellence in providing care for underserved populations within the United States. Dental SHAC was one of seven programs selected to receive this honor.