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Durham-based Student-led Dental Clinic winner of National Award

The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) recently awarded the UNC School of Dentistry’s Student National Dental Association (SNDA) with this year’s E. Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award. The award recognizes SNDA’s work at its CAARE clinic, based in Durham, N.C., where SNDA provides free dental care to adults.

“The SNDA chapter never ceases to amaze me with their intellect, energy and professionalism in service,” said Sylvia Frazier-Bowers, associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics. “These bright and compassionate students show a rare dedication to making a difference in the community and world through service. The CAARE clinic is a model of service and learning that benefits the community and the students’ dental education. We are so proud of the impact that their contribution makes for the school and the community at large. This award is certainly befitting of their tireless efforts all year long!”

The SNDA CAARE Clinic was established to help bridge the gap in access to care for the underserved population in Durham. It was inspired by Dr. Vincent Allison, DDS ’87, current president of the Old North State Dental Society and current adjunct associate professor at the school. Since the inception of SNDA CAARE Clinic in fall 2012, students have provided oral care, oral health education, nutritional counseling, and overall health and wellness screenings at no cost to patients. Last year alone, students provided more than $40,000 worth of free dental care. Care is provided three Tuesdays and one Wednesday a month during school semesters.

“None of this would be possible without the dedication and support from our CAARE Clinic advisors Dr. Allison and Dr. Webster-Cyriaque, and the countless volunteer hours from our SNDA members. They are truly committed to making a difference and serving the underserved,” said Keyachtta Hawkins, CAARE Clinic head coordinator and president of UNC SNDA. “We are grateful to receive this award as it will be a tremendous help in obtaining the instruments and materials we need to allow us to improve the quality of care and the number of patients we are able to treat.”

As head coordinator, Hawkins works closely with other student clinic coordinators: Tariq Jah, Donna Thomas, Brittany Spruiell, Tempestt Head and Christian Hart.

The Tarrson award, valued at $5,000, is given to dental school programs demonstrating excellence in providing care for underserved populations within the United States. SNDA CAARE Clinic was one of seven programs selected to receive this honor.