Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health

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  • Community Oral Health

    University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry: Student Learning through a Community Health Project

    Dental students at the UMMC SOD are required to spend a minimum of three weeks designing, implementing and evaluating a Community Health Project. During the first three academic years, one week is set aside for students to participate in projects of their choice. Students spend the first year conducting a community needs assessment in order to define a project and the next two years conducting this sequential project. Students are evaluated on the basis of a written report that is prepared and submitted during the senior year for a final grade.

    This program was one of the main programs of the original curriculum and has remained an important component. The choice of the project and the location is student generated. Experience to date suggests that students are exhibiting individuality and creativity in the selection of projects. Most are involved in school-based dental health education and tobacco-related projects. Other projects include cancer and hypertension screening, fluoridation campaigns, CPR and Heimlich Maneuver training, and projects for the disabled and the elderly.

    Community feedback has been most enthusiastic. Students have won state and national recognition for their projects. At present, hundreds of community-based projects have been implemented and have had an important impact on the health of Mississippians. Additionally, the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry Community Health Project was named to the list of Best Practices in Dental Education in 2001 by the American Dental Education Association.

    Contact Us

    For more information on Dental School Outreach and Service Learning Projects:

    Robin Howard, RDH, PhD
    University of Mississippi Medical Center
    School of Dentistry
    2500 N. State Street
    Jackson, MS
    Phone: (601) 984-6670
    Fax: (601) 984-6103