Volunteerism supersedes ceremony for these grads

These second-year pediatric dentistry graduate students celebrated the successful completion of their residencies by traveling to South Texas and treating children in need.
June 13th, 2016

TAMBCD volunteers for Dental Home Day 2016 in San AntonioCommencement week is typically filled with a flurry of activity, visitors and awards ceremonies. For 11 graduates of the pediatric dentistry residency program at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, the last week in May took on an entirely different nature. Instead of participating in graduation festivities, they opted to attend the annual meeting of their specialty organization, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, this year in San Antonio, and what’s more, to treat hundreds of underserved children in the process.

As part of a Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children grant, the AAPD hosted Dental Home Day at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio’s pediatric dentistry clinic on May 25, at the beginning of the organization’s weeklong annual meeting. Alongside volunteers, residents and faculty from the UT San Antonio and Houston dental schools were 13 individuals, including one faculty member and one first-year resident from Texas A&M College of Dentistry, on hand to perform everything from examinations and cleanings to operative dentistry for approximately 200 youngsters.

“Our residents are just amazing. They were at this meeting, and in doing this event, they missed their commencement,” says Dr. Steven Layton, assistant professor in pediatric dentistry, who supervised residents during Dental Home Day.

As part of the Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children grant, all care for the patients – including follow-up referrals throughout the year at the UT San Antonio dental school – is free.

“The parents were just so ecstatic about being there,” Layton adds. “And about what we were doing; you could see that they were very happy and appreciative.”

— Jennifer Fuentes