The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has selected Sylvette Ramos-Díaz, DDS Candidate 2024, Arlet Montes Sanchez, DDS Candidate 2023, and Glenn Baldwin and Adam Robinson, both DDS Candidates 2022, to be 2021-22 J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows.
Apoena Ribeiro, DDS, MS, PhD, will mentoring Ramos-Díaz and Montes Sanchez in their project to establish the Hispanic Oral Health Prevention and Education (HOPE) program at Vidas de Esperanza, a free, student-run clinic in Siler City, North Carolina. John Stephen Kizer, MD, primary physician at the Vidas de Esperanza clinic, will be their site mentor.
The Vidas de Esperanza clinic predominantly serves the Hispanic/Latinx population of Siler City, the students will be creating videos, oral hygiene instruction (OHI) and follow up instructional sessions in Spanish, as well as testing and analyzing oral microbiota to individualize patient treatment plans.
The HOPE Program will serve as an improvement to the standard of care at Vidas de Esperanza clinic. Not only will the clinic continue to provide essential restorative and oral surgery services, but it will now actively treat patients’ oral disease at the source by providing effective OHI and follow up to patients in their native language.
“Many of our patients have never seen a dental provider in their life, and proper oral hygiene instruction is imperative for prevention or further progression of oral disease in this vulnerable community,” said Ramos-Díaz and Montes Sanchez. “We are excited to also use our bilingual skills to educate our patients on the effects of oral health on systemic health.”
Wendy Clark, DDS, MS, will mentor Baldwin and Robinson on their project to provide free dentures to patients at the student-run Student National Dental Association (SNDA) CAARE clinic in Durham, North Carolina. Baldwin and Robinson will also work with alumni, F. Vincent Allison III, DDS ’87, will be their site mentor.
“Our goal in dentistry is to positively impact lives by promoting oral health, and that is what this project is about,” said Baldwin and Robinson. “This project will enhance the services offered by the CAARE student dental clinic and be life changing for the patients served. Adam and I will gain additional experience that will aid our careers through establishing a program to provide high quality dentures to the underserved community for years to come.”
“The fellowship year will present us with an incredible opportunity to gain additional clinical training in removable dentures, digital workflows, and surgery procedures, while also providing care to patients who would not otherwise have access. We are excited to work with community partners including Absolute Dental Services, LLC, Local Start Dental, and CAARE, Inc.”
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.