The VCU School of Dentistry is developing a model for dental and dental hygiene community service programs with underserved community partners and schools. The program educates dental professional students, patients and inner-city school students; increases oral health literacy; improves health outcomes; and ultimately increases the workforce for future dental professionals. The purpose of the program is to benefit underserved communities and inner-city school students with a shared mission of education and service in oral health. The program will increase oral health in these communities and awareness of oral health professions.
The goal of this project is to develop a curriculum for fourth year dental and dental hygiene students, raise awareness in health literacy, and improve student communication skills. After receiving training, dental and dental hygiene students will educate patients on oral health literacy at community partner sites and in Richmond City public schools.
The Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach at VCU School of Dentistry has created an Advisory Committee and appointed Ms. Sarah Holland, Executive Director of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition (VaOHC), as the Chair of the Advisory Committee. Together, VCU and VaOHC have developed the oral health literacy curriculum for educating fourth year dental and dental hygiene students concerning health literacy. Community partners are identified and participating students in Richmond City public schools are excited to learn about education-focused opportunities and careers in oral health care.
Measuring the Impact
Dental and dental hygiene students began patient care with the start of the Fall academic term under the supervision and guidance of VCU faculty dentists and/or dental hygienists at each community partner site. The college students identified for the program are in their fourth year of school and have previous experience providing oral health care to patients. This community care approach will allow additional patients to receive care and will further educate Richmond’s youth on the value and importance of oral health care in the broader spectrum of health.
Working Together to Expand Care
The collaboration between VCU, Virginia Oral Health Coalition, partner sites and Richmond City schools expands the level of care and oral health literacy to improve the overall health of Richmond residents.
- VCU School of Dentistry, Kim Isringhausen, Project Lead
- Virginia Oral Health Coalition, Sarah Holland, Executive Director
- Lucy Corr Village Dental Clinic, Chesterfield, VA: For more than 40 years, Lucy Corr Village has distinguished itself by meeting the assisted living and long-term care needs of individuals in the Chesterfield County community. Lucy Corr Village is a nonprofit continuing care retirement community operated by The Health Center Commission for the County of Chesterfield.
- Goochland Free Clinic, Goochland, VA: The mission of the Goochland Free Clinic & Family Services is to provide access to health care and basic human services to Goochland community residents who are in need of assistance.
- Charlottesville Free Clinic, Charlottesville, VA: The Charlottesville Fee Clinic is an open door to health care for the neighbors in need. The mission is to provide a volunteer community health-support system that offers high-quality health care to the working uninsured population, which would otherwise have no access to care.