FARMINGTON - Tunxis Community College dental hygiene students and faculty led a community service project in Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas, recently.
It was the fourth time the program has provided services to children of R.N. Gomez All-Ages School, part of a community that has limited health care and dental resources.
A total of 111 students aged 3 to 17 received oral health and nutritional education, oral screening and fluoride varnish application by the Tunxis dental hygiene students.
The children were also were given kits with toothbrush and supplies to continue good oral health practices at home.
Tunxis dental faculty, and several occupational therapy students and faculty from Quinnipiac University who were part of the group, recorded data and gave classroom presentations on health during the trip.
On the last day of the mission, the entire team attended the R.N. Gomez School Parent-Teacher Organization’s meeting to update parents on children’s dental health improvement over the last several years.
A donation of health care supplies under a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Health Kit Outreach program enabled the team to more effectively provide the oral screenings, education, and oral preventative services.
The program supports U.S.-based health professionals who provide volunteer care to at-risk and vulnerable populations globally.
Outcomes of this annual mission depend on support from multiple constituents. In addition to the Henry Schein Foundation, dental manufacturers and Connecticut dentists donated supplies for screenings, fluoride treatment, sealants, and oral health kits.
Students from Tunxis and Quinnipiac raised money for classroom activities and donated supplies.
Ripples of Hope sponsored accommodations and ground transportation on Great Harbour Cay.
Community service is an integral part of the allied dental curriculum at Tunxis. The college’s dental hygiene students have many opportunities to participate in community outreach projects on the local, national, and international level, providing services to underserved populations including children, the elderly, and those without dental insurance.
While students learn about health disparities in class, these opportunities allow them to see the impact of issues related to lack of access to care.
Tunxis only public college in Connecticut to provide a degree program in dental hygiene.
For information on how to apply to the dental hygiene program, visit tunxis.edu/ah.
For more information on Henry Schein Cares, visit the foundation’s “Helping Health Happen Blog,” a platform for health care professionals to share their volunteer experiences delivering assistance to those in need globally, at www.helpinghealthhappen.org .