Dental Student Volunteers are Key Providers for the KC Eastside Community Health Initiative

The “Our Healthy KC Eastside” Project is a community-wide initiative that provides COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services in Jackson County Missouri. The DDS Class of 2025 has dental students volunteering at events sponsored by more than 60 community partners. In addition to dental screenings, students are screening for high blood pressure and diabetes. This provides dental students an opportunity to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and apply what they are learning in their didactic courses in a real-world setting.

Additionally, dental students from the Classes of 2022 and 2023 are applying their didactic coursework by volunteering to serve as COVID-19 vaccinators.

Sarah Godwin, Afra Hussain, and Andrew Thompkins, dental students in the Class of 2024, are serving as the inaugural School of Dentistry Health Equity Scholars. They provide just-in-time training to conduct the health screenings, serve as vaccinators, oversee and distribute supplies for 5-7 events weekly, and are assisting with a research project that is examining the perceptions of oral health providers and administering vaccinations.

To date there have been over 150 student volunteers. They have identified 273 people in the community who need dental care. These individuals have been referred to the School of Dentistry Dental Clinic where the grant is providing resources to pay for dental care for uninsured and underinsured patients. The grant has paid for nearly $8000 of dental services.

Additional Information about the Project: Our Healthy KC Eastside – Working together, we can Protect the Eastside! (umkc.edu)

Photos from one of the clinics here.