The goal of the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program is to improve oral health for the communities we serve. While each program and location are unique, we aim to create sustainable, preventive oral health programs through long-term partnerships with host communities and thoughtful application of theories from public health and service learning. We do this through service, education, and research.
Our host communities face many barriers in maintaining good dental health, including a lack of readily available fluorides, limited or no public health dental services, inability to pay for dental care, geographic isolation, access to transportation, cultural practices, and more. Interventions are tailored to each host community’s specific needs, challenges, and resources.
Our programs provide preventive, general, and specialized dental care at no out-of-pocket cost to patients. In some clinical programs, we have the capacity to serve nearly 1,000 patients.
- 40,000 children and 20,000 adults have received oral health care
The clinical services may include fillings, root canal therapy, extractions, plus topical fluoride and sealants for children.
While the numbers above speak to the volume of patients that have benefitted from our programs over the years, the true impact is seen in the oral health improvements of children where sustained prevention leads to fewer cavities.
As a University-based program, it is our duty to educate the next generation of oral health providers. The NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program offers participants a global service learning opportunity that challenges them to rethink their roles as healthcare providers.
Third- and fourth-year dental students, dental hygiene, and post-graduate students conduct hands-on clinical care under the guidance of faculty and in accordance with their level of training. Community-based experiences provide non-clinical learning opportunities designed to help our students better understand how the community’s social determinants of health affect their health outcomes.
- 2,000 (and counting) – Number of NYU student participants to date
- 40,000+ schoolchildren have benefitted from oral health education and daily toothbrushing programs in their schools
The emphasis on partnerships with primary schools in each host community allows our dental hygiene team to provide classroom-based oral health education for children and teachers. Instilling good oral hygiene habits at an early age is critical to normalizing healthy behaviors throughout the lifespan, and school-based toothbrushing programs ensure healthy smiles for the next generation. Thanks to a partnership with Colgate we are able to offer toothbrushes to our host schools each year.
Monitoring, evaluation, and research are key to determining changes in health outcomes. Our dentists use international diagnostic standards to measure burden of dental caries in our host communities. Preventive efforts are monitored and reinforced over the course of several years, and outcomes are evaluated with each return visit. In some cases, specific research projects are developed with local partners to further identify opportunities for health advancement and advocacy.
- Grenada (2013) – 75% reduction in new decay on children’s 1st permanent molars after three years
- La Preciosita, Mexico (2014) – 40% of children were completely caries-free after three years
- Machias, Maine (2018) – Children’s caries incidence reached an all-time low at only 15%
- Pokhara, Nepal (2019) – Children had a 50% reduction in decayed, missing, and filled teeth after nine months of prevention
We recognize that our host communities have the ability to sustain healthy behaviors and we partner with various stakeholders to ensure that health gains are not lost in the Program’s absence. This includes capacity building of the local individuals and systems that may influence changes in policy and practice.
The Program’s financial sustainability is dependent on the support of philanthropic and industry partners, such as Henry Schein Cares and Colgate, individual donations, grants, gifts-in-kind, and the vested support of local community stakeholders.
Did you know ...
- A $1,000 gift will supply a primary school with fluoride varnish for one year
- A $5,000 gift covers the cost of sending one dental student to a community for one week