The annual New York City Oral Cancer Walk, now in its fifth year, was once again led by NYUCD students, who initiated the walk in 2006 to raise awareness of a disease that kills over 7,000 American men and women each year. From its inception, the students have been mentored by Dr. Ross Kerr, Associate Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Oral Medicine, and have benefited from the guidance and organizational support of Brian Hill, Founder and Director of the Oral Cancer Foundation. As in past years, the walk route went through Harlem to call attention to the fact that oral cancer disproportionately affects African-American men, who have the highest rates of oral cancer in the country.
In addition to students from the NYU chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), organizers and participants included students from other SNDA chapters, and NYU dental hygiene and nursing students, in partnership with the Harlem Hospital Center, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, NYU College of Dentistry, Columbia University, and Renaissance Healthcare Network.
A highlight of the event was the participation of As the World Turns star Colleen Zenk Pinter, who has survived two bouts of oral cancer and who challenged students to become oral cancer activists.
"As the future front-line specialists in screening for and detecting oral cancer at its earliest, most curable stages," said Ms. Pinter, "you have the ability to save lives. I hope that you will claim that responsibility and make it your passion."