Pacific ASDA Chapter group photo

Making a Difference at the 2015 ASDA Annual Session

On February, 18-21, 29 Pacific Dugoni ASDA members traveled to Boston for the Annual ASDA Session. The weekend brings together student leaders from all 65 U.S. dental schools and includes highlights such as an exhibit fair, prominent speakers, an awards ceremony, House of Delegates meeting and elections of ASDA’s national leaders.

Pacific’s ASDA chapter president, Steve Truman ‘16, reported back on the session:

It was a pleasure to represent you at the end of February at this year’s ASDA’s Annual Session that took place this year at the historic (and snow-covered) city of Boston! This conference is the time where ASDA chapters from around the nation gather to vote on ASDA policy that aims to enhance the dental school experience and your future career in this profession. It was an exciting conference for us, and I am happy to be able to report back some of the highlights.

Steve Truman

Pacific Dugoni ASDA Chapter President Steve Truman ’16 (at right), represented the school at the House of Delegates meeting.

The most important portion of Annual Session is the House of Delegates meeting where the chapter president and vice president of each respective school comes together and votes on resolutions in a variety of areas. Here is an outline of the more important resolutions:

Education and Licensure:
Needlestick Policy:
It was brought to the attention that it may be necessary for schools to provide increased protection for students potentially exposed to infectious diseases during the course of treatment both in school and at volunteer events.

Oral Health Literacy & Evidenced-Based Dentistry
Resolved, that ASDA encourages incorporating the term “oral health literacy” into CODA accreditation standards, particularly in the standards related to prevention and public health; and be it further
Resolved, that ASDA encourages a multi-disciplinary approach to student education about oral health literacy and usage of communication techniques that are appropriate based on patient level of oral health literacy.
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association supports dental schools’ incorporation of Evidence-Based Dentistry

ASDA research exhibit

Pacific Dugoni supports its very own Jesse Han (third from right) at the research exhibit during the Annual Session.

Membership & Professional Issues:
Resolved, that the American Student Dental Association encourages Congress to introduce and pass legislation that includes adult dental services in the federal Medicaid program. 

Governance:
The American Student Dental Association supports opportunities for interprofessional education within the dental school clinical and didactic curriculum.

Thank you all for your time. It is amazing to be part of a school that already practices and teaches so many of these resolutions. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, I encourage you to email me or find me in the halls or study room. If you disagree with something that was voted on please remember that this represents the collective voice and not necessarily my own beliefs. However, I would be happy to discuss the merits and or the reasoning behind of each resolutions to the best of my ability.

Pacific ASDA in costume

Pacific ASDA dressed up as The Incredibles for the superhero-themed President’s Gala.

Cristina Markiewicz, DDS ’16: Why Giving Smiles Makes Me Smile

On Saturday, Feb. 7, Pacific Dugoni volunteers held a “Give Kids a Smile” Dental Health Fair at the school’s Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dentistry Clinic in San Francisco. Nearly 100 children received free dental check-ups and cleanings, oral health education, orthodontic evaluations and more.

We caught up with Cristina Markiewicz, DDS ’16, who helped organize this year’s “Give Kids a Smile” event along with Grace Lan, DDS ’16. Cristina talks about the importance of pediatric oral health and shares some memorable moments from her experiences as a SCOPE leader. She currently serves as special events coordinator for SCOPE (Student Community Outreach for Public Education).

Cristina Markiewicz (at left) at the Give Kids a Smile Dental Health Fair.

Cristina Markiewicz (at left) at the Give Kids a Smile Dental Health Fair.

What did you learn from organizing this year’s Give Kids a Smile event?

All parents want the best for their children, but so many are unaware of early and preventative treatment that their children need. Events like ours not only educate kids on the importance of oral health, but also make parents aware that clinics like ours are available and allow them to bring their children in for care before it’s too late. One of my worst experiences in my pediatric rotation was when a child came in with painful rampant decay and had to undergo treatment during their first visit to the dentist.

Why did you choose to be a SCOPE leader?

I chose to be a SCOPE leader because I truly enjoy helping others. One of the reasons I chose dentistry as a career was so I could provide a service that can profoundly change the lives of others in a positive way. As the special events coordinator, I facilitate large events that help patient populations that routinely are not receiving care and refer them to resources that are appropriate and affordable for the treatment they need. The experiences I am most proud of while I have been in dental school have been at each of these events. I have been a part of CDA Cares, Project Homeless Connect, Give Kids A Smile as well as our smaller SCOPE Health Fairs. These events and experiences have had a huge impact on the way I view the world and have solidified my choice of dentistry as a career.

Can you share some memorable moments from the Give Kids a Smile event?

  • As an organizer of the event, I was constantly moving around performing different jobs. One of those jobs was to relieve some of the volunteers so they could grab lunch and take a break. While I was sitting at the main clinic registration table, I was close to the music we were playing outside the pediatric dentistry clinic. We thought one of the most popular soundtracks for kids would be the new Frozen soundtrack. During “Let It Go,” there was this shy and anxious little girl waiting to go in for her check-up. I had seen her earlier clutching the side of her mother. As soon as she heard the music she started mouthing the words and as the song went on she started to get more comfortable. By halfway into the song, she was out of the chair in the reception area and twirling as she was singing. One of the ortho residents started singing with her and she seemed to be more comfortable around the students.
  • This year we had a balloon artist and face painter at our school for clients after they have had their exam. One little boy came down wearing Spiderman shoes. When asked who his favorite superhero he said, “Spiderman.” I looked at the balloon artist knowing this was going to be challenging because I knew Spiderman’s only accessory was webbing, which is difficult to display with balloons – the balloon artist looked at me and said, “But it’s not impossible.” For the next few minutes he created what looked like webbing on an arm wrap just for the tiny Spiderman fan.
  • One of my favorite events was at the end of the day when I got the chance to look and get a 360 view of the entire event. I was brimming with pride as I saw all of my classmates educating kids and parents as they were decked out in face paint and balloons. Many of them were still in costumes as sugarbugs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and tooth fairies. As nerdy dental students, many of them were dressed in dentistry-themed costumes. As I looked around at all the volunteers, I was so happy that so many of them participated in the fun and had either gotten their face painted or had balloons from the balloon artists.

Kids with balloons

Why is volunteering an important part of dental education?

I feel that volunteering and helping others is a valuable and rewarding experience while we are in dental school. I think most of the students who choose dentistry as a career fall in love with dentistry the moment they visually see the positive impact they make in their patients lives. Many of the patients we see in some of our largest SCOPE events (like Project Homeless Connect) are from populations who have the least access to dentistry. Their dentition is often in dire straights, which presents us with complex cases. These events give dental students the perspective of the different patient populations, and we often are able to make the largest impact on a person by taking them from their hopeless dentition into something that is esthetic and functional so they can improve other aspects of their lives. All of these experiences are extremely rewarding and make us feel that we are making a positive impact on the world.

The Pacific Dugoni volunteers get festive with costumes, balloons and face painting.

The Pacific Dugoni volunteers get festive with costumes, balloons and face painting.