For the second time in three years, the UNC School of Dentistry chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) received the honor of being named Chapter of the Year. The chapter was notified of this recognition at the 45th Annual SNDA National Convention held over the summer in Dallas, Tex.
“Serving as a member of SNDA for the past three years has been nothing short of amazing, but this year will always be special to me,” said Keyachtta Hawkins, president of UNC SNDA. “This was the year we truly broke barriers! We increased our diversity with representation from over 20 different ethnicities; we challenged ourselves to implement new initiatives to address needs not being met; and more importantly, all 57 of us were able to execute more than 30 different programs in one academic year, proving our commitment to community service.”
Chapters considered for the honor of SNDA Chapter of the Year are evaluated on their leadership and accomplishments with regard to community service, chapter activity, attendance at events and overall member involvement. Three Chapter of the Year awards are presented annually at the SNDA Annual Convention, based on three levels of chapter membership: small, medium and large. UNC’s chapter won the distinction for large SNDA chapters. Groups considered in the large chapter category have more than 40 dues-paying members. In 2015, the UNC SNDA chapter won the same award for the medium chapter category.
The UNC SNDA, advised by longtime faculty member Dr. Sylvia Frazier-Bowers, is highly engaged in the local and school community. Twice a year the chapter hosts the SNDA Impressions Program, which reaches out to aspiring dental students and introduces participants to the UNC School of Dentistry and the oral health profession. SNDA students lead the dental efforts at a clinic in Durham called SNDA CAAREs, where they provide oral care and education to underserved adults, including oral health literacy and comprehensive dental care. The chapter also provides oral health instruction biannually to school-aged children through its “Lessons in a Lunch Box: Health Teeth Essentials and Facts about Snacks” program. In 2017, the group pioneered the school’s first Black History Month event, focusing on minority trailblazers and leaders in dentistry.
“I am incredibly proud of our SNDA chapter for earning this distinction for the second time in three years,” said Dean Scott De Rossi. “That they received this award again in such a short timespan reflects the impact and excellence of our school’s SNDA chapter and the commitment to inclusive excellence of our school and university. This is a well-deserved honor for our students.”