By Debra Weinstein, Steinhardt School of Education
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
"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.