Inspired by the interaction with a patient who had served in the Vietnam War, Nisha Garg, a dental student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, began working to help address the oral health care barriers facing veterans today, according to ADA News.
As part of her Schweitzer Fellows project, Ms. Garg organized a Veterans’ Screening Day, held Jan. 16 at UIC. Ms. Garg initially expected only up to 30 participants. By the day’s end, more than 70 veterans had come to receive free initial screening and assessment.
“The more I learned about how many veterans are not able to receive access to dental care, the more I began to realize the depth of the problem,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans have to meet certain eligibility factors to receive dental care, such as service-related dental disability or condition, or if they are a former prisoner of war. In addition, some veterans who qualify for dental benefits still don’t receive the care they need because of the distance to their nearest VA hospital.
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