Spring 2006 Table of Contents
News From the College
For Young Patients, a Trip to the Dentist Now Includes a Visit with a Nutritionist

The NYU Steinhardt/College of Dentistry team (counter-clock-wise): Three-year-old Ryan Hahn sits on the lap of Dan Allen, pediatric dental resident; Steinhardt dietetic intern Priya Akhoury; Lisa Sasson; and Jill Fernandez-Wilson, clinical associate professor, pediatric dentistry.

Reprinted with permission from the Steinhardt School of Education.

By Debra Weinstein, Steinhardt School of Education

An innovative collaboration between Steinhardt's Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and NYU's College of Dentistry is bringing Steinhardt students into NYU's pediatric dental clinic to educate children and their caregivers.

The graduate students in the clinical nutrition program are not only working with dental faculty to learn about nutrition and oral health, but participating with dental hygienists in community outreach, and working to raise awareness about the nutritional content in the foods that children eat.

"The collaboration grew out of an interest within the College of Dentistry to put more 'nutrition' in the dental curriculum, said Lisa Sasson, internship director and Steinhardt clinical assistant professor.

"One thing that became clear is how closely related our two professions are because we are both working with food. It was just a natural pairing," Sasson said.

Among the many benefits of the Steinhardt/College of Dentistry collaboration is that nutritionists and hygienists together are educating parents and caregivers from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds to think differently about the snacks they give to children. They are taught about the timing and frequency of snacking and how to combine food and beverages that are good for the teeth.

"We also focus on snacks and meals that help kids maintain a healthy weight and mouth," Sasson said.

The program began in 2005 and has been so successful that almost all of Steinhardt dietetic interns spend two weeks of their 26-week internship at the pediatric dental clinic.