Outreach Will Continue to Other Parts of Island
From November 8 to 16, 2008, a 25-member NYUCD dental outreach team visited the town of Veragua, Dominican Republic, to examine and treat 596 adults and children. It was the college's 13th outreach to this impoverished area on the island's north coast since the program was founded 11 years ago by Dr. Lidia Kiremidjian-Schumacher, a Professor Emerita of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology. Dr. Kiremidjian co-led the 2008 outreach with Dr. Roy Sonkin, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care, who was in charge of the temporary clinic set up by the outreach team. The team provided 3,207 dental treatments - including sealants, fluoride varnishes, restorations, and prophylaxes - bringing the total number of treatments provided on all 13 missions to 36,634.
In spring 2009, NYUCD will send an outreach team to the capital city of Santo Domingo, on the southern coast, and the following fall a team will travel to BanÍ, also in the south.
"This was a very important experience for our students, who are not used to seeing such severe poverty," said Dr. Kiremidjian-Schumacher. "They were able to bond with the patients and give them the attention and care they were seeking."
"As the week went on, I saw many students' clinical skills, decision-making abilities, and self-confidence increase," she added. "The quality of care they provided was excellent."
At the close of the mission, Dr. Kiremidjian-Schumacher was presented with a plaque in honor of her service. "We are extremely grateful to Dr. Kiremidjian-Schumacher for founding and leading the Dominican outreach missions," said Dr. Stuart M. Hirsch, Associate Dean for International Programs & Development. "She has played an invaluable role in making each trip a success, and has been a tireless mentor to the dozens of students who have gone to the Dominican Republic in search of an opportunity to develop their clinical skills in a unique and challenging setting."
In addition to Dr. Hirsch, Dr. Kiremidjian-Schumacher, and Dr. Sonkin, the members of the outreach team included Dr. Richard Weledniger, Clinical Assistant Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care; Dr. Lily Lim, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Dentistry; Dr. Raid Sadda, Clinical Assistant Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery; Ms. Rachel Hill, Program Administrator in the Office of the Associate Dean for International Programs & Development; Ms. Teresa Echavarria, a sterilization technician; Dr. Christina Abreu, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '09; Dr. Azi Ahmadi-Ardakani, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '10; Dr. Chintan Gandhi, Advanced Program in Comprehensive Dentistry for International Dentists, '09; Dr. Maria Cuevas, Advanced Program in Comprehensive Dentistry for International Dentists, '09; and the following students from the DDS Program Class of '09: Ms. Nancy Ajam; Ms. Boki Chung; Ms. LeeAnn Clark; Mr. Stephen DiBenedetto; Ms. Maria Luba; Mr. Jerame Hafen; Ms. Karima Daniel; Mr. Gene Lee; Ms. Vanessa Lugo Hart; Ms. Luisa Perez; Mr. Ecio Pozzi; Mr. Zachary Sonkin; and Ms. Marielena Torres Ricart.
As in the past, the outreach mission was cosponsored by the Dominican Air Force and Cabarete Palm Beach Condos.