The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has selected four dental students as North Carolina Fellows: Meagan Laframboise Inclan, Katrina Ashlin, Beth Haymore and Minka Hotic, all DDS Candidates 2019. Beau Meyer, DDS, MPH, will be working with Hotic and Haymore, and Michael Milano, DMD, will be working with Inclan and Ashlin.
Inclan and Ashlin will be addressing access to care in the special health care needs community by establishing an educational workshop series and screening event at the Triangle Down Syndrome Network. The educational workshop series will address the importance of dental hygiene and ways in which families can improve their dental hygiene routines at home. Their goal is to improve dental hygiene among special health care needs individuals, as well as enhance their home care and comfort levels while at the dentist.
“We are honored and excited to have received the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which will enable us to serve a population that is close to both of our hearts,” said Inclan and Ashlin.
Haymore and Hotic have served as coordinators of the School of Dentistry’s involvement in the UNC-CH Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC). “We are one of the oldest student-run, free dental clinics in the United States,” said Haymore and Hotic. “[S]tudents provide screenings, extractions, fillings, radiographs and cleaning services. All providers are volunteers, including the faculty who oversee the procedures. During the academic year, the clinic provides more than $100,000 worth of care to those in need.”
Due to age restrictions, Dental SHAC typically provides care to those 18 years of age and older. Both students noticed a growing need among patients of adolescent age who often accompanied their parents to the clinic. Haymore and Hotic looked to expand the clinic’s offerings to address the unmet needs of adolescent teens (ages 14-17) in the North Carolina Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) by establishing a free dental clinic for those who do not have a dental home or regular access to dental care.
Their service project involves three parts. The first component is to develop an interactive education program to provide oral health and hygiene education to teens. Second, they will provide individualized comprehensive treatment, including screening, radiographs, operations and extractions. Finally, the project will help patients find a permanent dental home.
The North Carolina Fellows Program is a part of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program, and provides a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.
The program gives students the opportunity to provide health service to underserved populations with real-life situations where students can use their skills and knowledge, collaborate across disciplines, and exercise leadership skills by working with and influencing community-based organizations, local leaders and more.
Last year’s fellows were Keyachtta Hawkins, DDS Candidate 2018, and Tariq Jah, DDS Candidate 2019, for their work to address the lack of comprehensive dental care and health literacy at the CAARE Clinic in Durham, North Carolina. Hawkins and Jah established the “Smile TIME” (Treatment Through Interdisciplinary Methods and Enrichment) program, which provided free comprehensive dental care for uninsured adults in collaboration with the UNC-CH School of Pharmacy and the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health.
(Photo, from left to right: Beth Haymore, Katrina Ashlin, Meagan Laframboise Inclan and Minka Hotic)