A 30-member team of NYUCD faculty and students sponsored by the Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program traveled in March to Chiquilistagua, Nicaragua, on a weeklong mission to treat 576 children and to implement a program aimed at achieving a sustainable reduction in dental caries. The fifth annual mission to this impoverished rural town of 11,000 was modeled on NYUCD–Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach programs underway in underserved areas in the United States and overseas, including Hudson, New York; Ft. Yukon, Alaska; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where childhood dental caries have been reduced by as much as 40 percent.
In Chiquilistigua, as in other locations where the sustainable care model has been implemented, the outreach team set up a temporary clinic in a local school, where it provided the children with oral health education, screenings, fluoride varnishes, sealants, restorative treatments, and extractions, and trained their teachers to reapply the varnishes at three-month intervals. The NYUCD– Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program also provides emergency care to adult family members. In Chiquilistigua, 643 adults were treated.
As the children arrived for their screenings on the mission's first day, team members engaged them in a 'Happy Tooth-Sad Tooth' game developed by Dr. Aura Caldera, '08, an Instructor in Pediatric Dentistry and the mission's co-organizer. Team members placed large plastic 'happy' and 'sad' teeth and an array of oversized magnets shaped like fruit, candy, and other natural and artificially sweetened foods at the front of a classroom adjoining the clinic, asked each child to decide whether certain foods made teeth happy or sad, and shed some tears whenever a child chose to place a lollipop or chocolate on the 'happy' tooth.
"It was a great way to teach children about healthy versus unhealthy foods," said outreach co-organizer Ms. Rachel Hill, Program Administrator in the Office of International Affairs & Development.
In addition to Dr. Caldera and Ms. Hill, the outreach team included Dr. Stuart Hirsch, Associate Dean for International Affairs & Development; Dr. K. Michael Ghalili, Clinical Associate Professor of Prosthodontics; Dr. James Toppin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Medicine; Dr. Yakir Arteaga, Instructor in Cariology & Comprehensive Care; Dr. David Walls, Teaching Fellow in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery; Dr. Denise Foran, Clinical Assistant Professor of Endodontics; Dr. Patrick So, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '09; and Ms. Amanda Meissner, Program Administrator in the Office of International Affairs & Development.
Additional members of the team included Dr. Wael Oweity, Advanced Education Program in Endodontics, '10; Dr. Eric Appelin, Advanced Education Program in Endodontics, '11; Dr. Joseph Sleilati, Advanced Education Program in Endodontics, '11; Dr. Amy Honig, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '10; Dr. Joyce Kao, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '11; Dr. Thapanee Vongthongleur, Advanced Program in Pediatric Dentistry for International Dentists, '10; Dr. Andrea Mastrorosa Agnini, Advanced Program in Comprehensive Dentistry for International Dentists, '10; Dr. James Hazbun, Advanced Program in Comprehensive Dentistry for International Dentists, '10; Mr. Miganoush Ghookasian, '11; Mr. Austin Griffith, '11; Mr. Flor Segovia, '11; Mr. Valentin Sviatocha, '11; and the following students from the DDS Class of '10: Dr. Brian Bulik; Dr. Anu Dali; Dr. Robert Hogge; Dr. Jackie Korol; Dr. Avi Malkis; Dr. Alicia Schraner; Dr. Ann Slama; Dr. Michael Weisner; Dr. Tina Wu; and Dr. Lilian Wu.