ISSUE
     
International Partners in Health
Sustainable Care Outreach to Dominican Republic Reduces Tooth Decay in Children by 40%
 


























A new preventive model that aims to achieve sustainable reductions in dental caries among underserved children both in the U.S. and abroad was further bolstered by the results of a November 2009 follow-up outreach by NYUCD's Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program to a school in an underserved area of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The new model is based on fluoride varnishes being re-applied at three-month intervals by local dental school students and faculty recruited by Dr. Adolfo Rodriguez, President of the Dominican Dental Association. Training and preventive materials were supplied through NYUCD and made possible by gifts from the Henry Schein corporation. Approximately 350 children were treated at the school in February 2009. When the team re-evaluated the children's oral health status, it found that this approach had reduced tooth decay among the children by 40 percent in just nine months. Even more striking was the reduction in the number of carious teeth per child, from 3 to 1.3.

"The initial decline in tooth decay is very encouraging and exceeds our original expectations," said Ms. Rachel Hill, Program Administrator for the Office of International Programs & Development, who added that the children will continue to receive fluoride varnishes at three-month intervals until NYUCD returns for its third mission in November 2010. "We expect to see further improvements in oral health when we return to re-evaluate the children," said Ms. Hill, who attributed the high rates of decay to frequent snacking on refined carbohydrates.

During the November 2009 outreach, NYUCD's 32-member team provided more than 2,800 treatments, including 232 restorations and 496 extractions, to 789 adults and children. Two Dominican natives—Dr. Hansel Gonzalez, Advanced Program for International Dentists in Oral Surgery, '10, and Dr. Eugenia Mejia, Director of Admissions—took part in the mission. "Nothing is more gratifying than doing outreach in my own language, with my own people," said Dr. Mejia, who helped manage the triage area.

In addition to Ms. Hill, Dr. Gonzalez, and Dr. Mejia, the members of the outreach team included Dr. Stuart Hirsch, Associate Dean for International Programs & Development; Dr. Roy Sonkin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Cariology & Comprehensive Care; Dr. Zachary Sonkin, '09; Ms. Amanda Meissner, Program Administrator for the Office of International Programs & Development; Dr. Lily Lim, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatric Dentistry; Dr. Jennifer LaSasso, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, '09; Dr. Kelly Kim, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry '10; Dr. Loan Nguyen, Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry '11.

Additional volunteers included Dr. Shereen Riad, Advanced Program for International Dentists in Pediatric Dentistry '10; Dr. Prenard Mickens, Clinical Assistant Professor of Endodontics; Dr. Raul Ortiz, Advanced Education Program in Endodontics '10; Dr. Joshua Yadegar, Advanced Education Program in Endodontics '10; Dr. Katsushi Okazaki, Advanced Program for International Dentists in Endodontics, '10; Dr. Sharon Umrigar, Advanced Program for International Dentists in Comprehensive Dentistry, '10; Dr. Carolina Varela, Advanced Program for International Dentists in Comprehensive Dentistry, '10; as well as DDS class of 2010 students Ms. Jennifer Chang, Mr. Corey Corpodian, Ms. Sarah Euksuzian, Mr. Andrew Hoppe, Ms. Radhika Kapur, Mr. Prospero Matos, Ms. Rimma Portman, Ms. Sarah Saucerman, Mr. Ojas Shah, Ms. Audrey Wingo, and Mr. Jason Yang; and DDS Class of 2011 students Mr. Julian Issacs and Ms. Rachel Kwal.