School of Dentistry Faculty Receive Grant to Provide Screenings and Care for Hispanic Immigrants
For the second year, dental hygiene faculty Mary George RDH, MEd and Vicki Overman RDH, MEd '83 received a grant "Immigrant Dental Health Proposal" from the Carolina Center for Public Service at UNC-Chapel Hill. With the $6,000 grant, Overman and George plan to continue to provide dental screenings and dental hygiene preventive care for Hispanic immigrants from Siler City, N.C. This year's program will have 50 new patients. While providing dental care for an underserved population, the program will provide a clinical and cultural experience for dental hygiene students.
As part of the program, the dental hygiene faculty provide education materials in Spanish for lay advisors to teach preventive care in Siler City. At the school the dental hygiene students take radiographs, provide scaling, polishing, dental health education and other preventive services for the patients. Patients receive follow-up instructions and oral hygiene instructions written in Spanish to help them incorporate prevention into their daily routine. Patients who need additional treatment are referred to Urgent Care Services at the school, the Orange County Health Department, private practices and other public clinics.
The new program will start in the fall semester with buses and vans, sponsored by the local churches, bringing patients from Siler City to the school. Lay health advisors from the Siler City churches will accompany the group to act as interpreters. The 28 patients that participated in last year's program will also return to the school for follow-up.
"The project provides students and staff a rich learning environment for developing cultural competency in caring for Hispanic cultures, in identifying their dental needs and in providing preventive dental care to an underserved population," said Overman.