School of Dentistry outreach programs expand
Eight-eight faculty members and hundreds of students took part in community and international outreach activity of the service learning program of the School of Dentistry.
In a report prepared for the service learning advisory committee, Ronald Forde, DDS, chair and director of service learning, said that a total of 282 separate trips were taken by students and faculty for the fiscal year starting June 1, 2003 and ending May 31, 2004.
Dr. Forde explained that a vast number of trips involved local community activity in the immediate area of Loma Linda and extending out to Mecca and Twentynine Palms.
However, of major importance to students and faculty are the international programs undertaken by the committee. A total of 144 students and 27 faculty members participated in 17 international trips to co
untries including Albania, Belize, Bolivia,China, Fiji, Granada, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, and Russia.
The report was prepared by the committee’s secretary and associate director Fred Kasischke, DMin, whose office handles the daily operations of the outreach programs of the School of Dentistry.
The committee recently reviewed a proposed draft of a program requiring every student in the School of Dentistry to give 120 service hours minimum in order to graduate.
This includes not only direct service in dental activities, but also a long list of non-dental activities including participation in local church affairs, civic affairs, mentoring, or tutoring and belonging to dental professional organizations.
The area community outreach program received a gift of the use of a dental mobile unit that travels to such places the Lugonia and Victoria elementary schools, to low income areas, community health centers, as well as to numerous health fairs in the communities served.
Dr. Forde reports that a total of 14,552 procedures were done on 7,242 patients in the combined international and community outreach programs.
“We have not yet determined the financial value of these procedures, but it is planned in the future to do a study on the dollar amount given for the services rendered in these outreach clinics,” Dr. Forde says.
“Loma Linda University School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the nation with such an extensive outreach program,” Dr. Forde concludes.
“There are a few schools of dentistry throughout the country that use the local community outreach program,” Dr. Kasischke says, “but none matches the intensity of the program here at Loma Linda—especially in the international program.”