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Volunteers needed to continue late dental student’s charitable goals in Turkey


Deah Barakat made the appeal himself.

Looking directly at the camera, earnestness in his plea, the University of North Carolina’s School of Dentistry dental student asked, “Have you ever felt helpless about the situation in Syria, and felt like you can’t do anything about it? Well, this is your opportunity to help.”

In the YouTube video posted last September, Mr. Barakat explained, “This summer I’m embarking on a trip to Turkey with 10 dentists to help Syrian refugee students in need of urgent dental care. We need your help to raise funds for these supplies and equipment — a hundred percent of which will benefit the refugees.”

But before he could see his efforts and dreams come to fruition, Mr. Barakat’s life was cut short. On Feb. 10, he was one of three young Muslims killed in a shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Through his efforts, Project Refugee Smiles successfully raised the funds for the trip. Friends have taken up where Mr. Barakat left off and will see the mission through. They seek volunteer dentists to participate this summer in one of two trips to Turkey to help put Mr. Barakat’s plan in motion.

“The first group is going from July 29 through Aug. 2,” said Ali Heydary, a predental student at North Carolina State University who is coordinating and will volunteer. “And the second trip is going from Aug. 1 through Aug. 5. We will be carrying out this trip annually.”

Participating dentists will work with and supervise volunteer dental students during treatments.

For more information and sign-up forms, contact Mr. Heydary at RefugeeSmiles@gmail.com.

“We’ll be doing extractions, fillings, root canals and oral hygiene instructions to those most in need,” Mr. Barakat said in the video appeal. “We’ll also focus on prevention. We’ll be passing out toothbrushes and toothpaste within refugee camps so that we can eliminate the problem before it begins. These kids don’t have access to the same health care as us, and their prolonged pain can easily be taken care of with the work that we do.”

More information also is available at youcaring.com/syriandentalrelief and on Facebook at facebook.com/Projectrefugeesmiles.

New dentist group leader applies GKAS Institute lessons to Hawaii events

The Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group volunteers hold up a Give Kids A Smile Hawaii banner at their Feb. 21 GKAS event. Pictured at the top, from left: Drs. Tina Mukai, Lauren Young, Keri Wong and Jaclyn Palola.  At bottom, from left: Drs. Blake Kitamura, Robert Yong, Scott Morita, Bryan Sato, Suzan Ly, Christopher Young, Scott Hiramoto, Wesley Sato, Rachel Dipasquale and Blake Matsuura.

The Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group volunteers hold up a Give Kids A Smile Hawaii banner at their Feb. 21 GKAS event. Pictured at the top, from left: Drs. Tina Mukai, Lauren Young, Keri Wong and Jaclyn Palola. At bottom, from left: Drs. Blake Kitamura, Robert Yong, Scott Morita, Bryan Sato, Suzan Ly, Christopher Young, Scott Hiramoto, Wesley Sato, Rachel Dipasquale and Blake Matsuura.

Hawaii’s isolation from mainland resources and not having a dental school are two of the challenges that face anyone coordinating a Give Kids A Smile event here.

In contemplating taking the lead in organizing the Hawaii Dental Association’s GKAS event, Dr. Scott Morita applied for and obtained a spot at the 2014 GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute, according to ADA News.

He took his association’s GKAS dilemmas with him to St. Louis last October and the Institute helped him forge ideas on how to corral the energy and efforts of the Hawaii Dental Association Young Dentist Group to tailor a series of GKAS events.

“It’s the first year of new dentists implementing any kind of program in Hawaii like this at all,” said Dr. Morita, an orthodontist.

Dr. Morita poses with Fred the Floss-a-saurus and displays a signed proclamation declaring February Give Kids  A Smile Month in Hawaii.

Dr. Morita poses with Fred the Floss-a-saurus and displays a signed proclamation declaring February Give Kids A Smile Month in Hawaii.

Ultimately, Dr. Morita and his fellow young dentists organized a three-part observation of GKAS in February, with their main event occurring Feb. 21. In total, Dr. Morita’s team attracted 80 volunteers, including 30 dentists, for their GKAS treatment event.

“We saw over 100 children,” Dr. Morita said. “They had more education, but they were also able to get a free oral examination, free prophy and free fluoride treatment on that day.”

To read the full story, click here.

Journalists to speak at ADA 2015

Washington — The ADA Distinguished Speaker Series will feature columnist Charles Krauthammer and journalist and author Eleanor Clift at ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting here, Nov. 5 from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer

The ADA Distinguished Speaker Series annually presents renowned personalities with notable careers and accomplishments in politics, media and industry. The 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series is presented by Church & Dwight, makers of Arm & Hammer, Spinbrush and Orajel oral care products.

Charles Krauthammer, who earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, practiced medicine before becoming a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale. Later, he joined The New Republic as a writer and editor. More than 400 newspapers worldwide publish his syndicated weekly column, begun in The Washington Post in 1985. He appears nightly on Fox News’ evening news program Special Report with Bret Baier.

Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift

Ms. Clift is the Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast, a longtime panelist on the weekly public affairs show The McLaughlin Group and also provides commentary for Fox News.

Ms. Clift is a former contributing editor at Newsweek and author of four books, including her latest “Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics,” an examination of the right-to-die debate through personal experience with the loss of her husband.

For more information on ADA 2015, click here.

Dental leaders welcome student advocates

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the ADA president said. “Ask them to be advocates for you and for the profession.”

ADA Foundation accepting donations for Nepal disaster relief

ADAF_Nepal_640x360The ADA Foundation is accepting donations to aid dentists and others providing dental care in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal.

ADA FoundationThe 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred approximately 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal, according to the U.S. Department of State. Some 3,350 people died as of April 27 due to the disaster, and officials anticipated at press time that the toll would climb, according to information on USAID.gov.

The United Nations estimates that the earthquake will affect 8 million people across 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts. The most severely affected areas include Bhaktapur, Dhading, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Kavre, Lalitpur, Nuwakot, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, and Sindulpalchowk districts in Nepal’s Central Region, as well as Gorkha District in Nepal’s Western Region.

Donations for Nepal disaster relief may be made at ADAFoundation.org/en/how-to-help/ or by sending a check to ADA Foundation, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60611.

The ADA Foundation will grant combined donations to a reputable nonprofit to distribute the funds to the greatest need.

For Nepal earthquake relief, write “Nepal” in the memo field of remitted checks.

Nominations due end of May for ADA Foundation’s Whiston leadership awards

Know any promising dentists with leadership potential for improving public health? Nominations are due May 31 for the ADA Foundation’s Dr. David Whiston Leadership Program Awards.

ADA FoundationThe Whiston Awards are designed to support dentists who show leadership potential for improving the oral health of the public. As part of the program, the ADA Foundation provides two $5,000 awards each year — The Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award and the Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award — to cover costs associated with attending an American Management Association leadership training program.

Nominees must be early career dentists or students who have demonstrated the ability to create a vision and motivate others to achieve that vision. They must also demonstrate ability to use those traits for the greater good through activities that help advance the oral health of the public and/or the underserved.  The ADA Foundation’s website lists more eligibility requirements.

To nominate a candidate, submit the nomination form, found on ADAFoundation.org by the deadline.

The ADA Foundation created the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Program in 2014 to honor Dr. David Whiston, who has served the oral health profession through many important leadership roles, including as 1997-98 ADA president and 2010-14 president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the ADA Foundation, visit ADAFoundation.org or call 1-312-440-2547.

Nepal dental school seeks instructors for new Health Volunteers Overseas project

Dr. Hollander's favorite mountain in Nepal is Ama Dablam, pictured here.

Dr. Hollander’s favorite mountain in Nepal is Ama Dablam, pictured here.

Any interest in teaching in Nepal?

The ADA News is reporting that a dental education project in Dhulikhel, Nepal, is seeking volunteers to teach this fall under the auspices of Health Volunteers Overseas, Dhulikhel Dental School and Kathmandu University School of Medicine.

“They want to improve the dental education that they provide the students,” said Dr. Brian Hollander, project director. “Our volunteers will work with both the students and the faculty in helping them improve their knowledge and teaching techniques. Their goal is to produce excellent dentists. It’s a pretty interesting partnership. HVO just launched the project last month. We’ve already had quite a bit of interest. I’m very excited about this program.”

Dr. Dashrath Kafle, left, and Dr. Hollander stand overlooking the dental school at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr. Kafle is a professor at the school and the HVO project's local contact.

Dr. Dashrath Kafle, left, and Dr. Hollander stand overlooking the dental school at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr. Kafle is a professor at the school and the HVO project’s local contact.

The first volunteer is going to Nepal in April. The project needs volunteers for placement between September and mid-November.

Infection control and hygiene; training for dental assistants and hygienists; dental laboratory techniques; finishing orthodontic cases to American Board of Orthodontics standards; oral pathology and oral medicine are among the requested focus areas for volunteers. Academic support in oral medicine and oral pathology has also been requested.

The program needs academic support in oral medicine and oral pathology and training in four-handed dentistry for the dental nurses and assistants.

Volunteers must be fully trained general dentists, specialists and/or board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons who hold a current license to practice. Assignments are for a minimum of two weeks.

To read the full story, click here.

New Dentist Conference Joins ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting

The ADA is pleased to announce that for the first time, the New Dentist Conference will be held at the ADA annual meeting from November 5-10 in Washington, D.C.

New Dentist Conference 2015Features of the New Dentist Conference include:

  • Shark Tank co-star Daymond John as keynote speaker.
  • Exclusive, interactive educational offerings.
  • High-level networking opportunities with leadership and peers.
  • New Dentist reception and lounge.
  • Significantly reduced hotel rates.
  • A chance to give back at the ADA Mission of Mercy.
  • We encourage you to share this information with any dentists who have been out of school for ten years or less as this is an experience they won’t want to miss.

Registration for the New Dentist Conference at ADA 2015 opens May 13 — a full week earlier than general registration! For more information, visit ADA.org/NDC.

Take action on dental student debt

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtDid you know the average dental school graduate in 2014 carries $247,227 in student loan debt, up from $221,000 in 2013? While this debt may not be the sole factor in determining whether a new dentist will choose a career of private practice over public service, 61 percent of graduating seniors say it does influence their decision.

The infographic uses data gathered by the American Dental Education Association.  Please take action now and contact your representative about this important issue, please visit ADA.org/Engage.

Medicaid challenges and rewards: One new dentist’s experience

Dr. Chris Hasty, vice chair of ADA’s New Dentist Committee, weighs the challenges and “rewarding” experiences with accepting Medicaid in his practice and says, “As new dentists, we should want to see the Medicaid system fixed and functional.”

Dr. Hasty

Dr. Hasty

We asked Dr. Hasty for his thoughts on accepting Medicaid patients.

He offered a litany of “frustrations” with the system, which includes low reimbursement rates, bureaucratic hoops, closed networks, burdensome filing requirements, limited covered procedures, down coding, endless paperwork and RAC audits, “which is not only aggravating for the provider but very stressful and time consuming.”

“A truly functional and fair Medicaid system is not a bad thing,” said Dr. Hasty. “In addition, as long as the system is fixed and functional, dentistry will be able to decide its fate and role. Sure it is not glamorous, but you do learn valuable lessons from accepting Medicaid.”

“Medicaid provides a consistent influx of patients into your practice. This is the real world. You have a steady stream of patients to help you build your speed, work out of multiple chairs and check hygiene at the same time.

“I used my experiences with my Medicaid patients to determine what I truly like in dentistry, and maybe more importantly what I truly did not like. In addition, when the Medicaid system is functional you can depend on your reimbursement to be in the bank in a timely pattern.

However, one must be very careful to limit the amount of Medicaid in his/her practice. A practice too dependent on Medicaid is very vulnerable to outside influences affecting the growth and sustainability of the practice. One significant fee decrease can cause a practice to close its doors if it becomes too dependent on Medicaid.

“I believe that we, as new dentists, should support the ADA’s effort for Medicaid reform. With the number of graduates entering the workforce today, there will always be providers able to continue dental care to these patients even as others drop off the system. In addition there is a sense of satisfaction providing care to a child whose only hope for dental care came with the Medicaid card he or she brought in. It is very rewarding seeing a child that did not have a chance at good oral health grow into a young adult with good oral health because of a system that was fair to the participant and the provider.”

For more information on increasing provider participation in Medicaid, click here.