Dental hygiene lunch date

August 12th, 2014

Discussion during the annual dental hygiene luncheon focused on service. It’s a topic Caruth students and alumni understand well.

The 60 students in the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry are responsible for more than 5,000 patient visits every year. It’s an impressive number, but that figure doesn’t reflect the full scale of lives touched as a result of students’ efforts.

They provided for the oral hygiene needs of approximately 350 children and have traveled to nursing homes and retirement centers to provide care to the elderly for six years. Through their coursework they provide educational services to larger populations at elementary schools and to smaller populations through agencies and community programs.

There are countless other patients in need that dental hygiene students treat through volunteer initiatives such as Texas Mission of Mercy and most recently, Operation Lone Star, a full-scale emergency response exercise that provides free health services to local residents of four South Texas counties in early August.

“The diversity of service of our students is inspiring,” said Dr. Janice DeWald, chair of the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, during the program’s annual luncheon on Aug. 8. The topic of discussion among the more than 50 attendees — including current students, faculty and alumni spanning seven decades — shifted to service during the lunch, which featured Joanna Clarke, vice president of development for the nonprofit Community Partners of Dallas, as the keynote speaker.

— Carolyn Cox