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The Dental School That Travels to Serve

by Victoria Anne Panetta

Leveraging its location in the heart of Suffolk County, SBU’s School of Dental Medicine is on a mission to bring oral healthcare to underserved families in the region and across the globe.

The School reaches out to children on Long Island through annual events, like Give Kids a Smile, and through its Mobile Dental Clinic, which is equipped with three operatories. Give Kids a Smile, a program of the American Dental Association, brings hundreds of children to the School each year to receive free oral healthcare services and school supplies ahead of the new school year. With the support of the New York State Department of Health and the Head Start Program, the Mobile Dental Clinic delivers dentistry directly to children within local school districts and homeless shelters.

On a national level, for 20 years the School has provided oral healthcare and education to members of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Within the Appalachian region of the United States, the School supports Remote Area Medical and its efforts to provide free healthcare services to those in need through “pop-up” clinics at multiday events.

Through work with local organizations, the School’s services extend as far as rural areas of Ranomafana and Kelilalina in Madagascar. For 17 years, a team of students and faculty has provided preventive and emergency care to nearby Centre ValBio, Stony Brook’s research station. Further strategic partnerships bring SBU teams to locations in the Dominican Republic, Chile and Guatemala annually.

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