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Dugoni School Volunteers Make a Difference at CDA Cares Community Dental Clinic in San Jose

Vanisha Gandhi, a student volunteer from the Dugoni School, with a fellow CDA Cares volunteer. Photo courtesy of CDA Foundation.

May  22, 2013

A large portion of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry family could be found in San Jose the weekend of May 18-19 volunteering at CDA Cares, a free, two-day dental clinic hosted by the California Dental Association (CDA) and CDA Foundation. Nearly 2,200 patients lined up to receive free oral health services and education at the event, which was held at the San Jose Convention Center.

Of the approximate 200 dental students who volunteered, 170 of them were from the Dugoni School, which demonstrated the tremendous interest shown by Pacific students in getting involved in the community event. The students gave up their weekend to volunteer as patient escorts, dental assistants, and patient intake and outtake coordinators, among other duties. Faculty members and numerous Dugoni School alumni also participated and provided free cleanings, fillings, extractions, full and partial dentures and more. In total, more than $1.6 million of free care was provided to patients, according to the CDA.

Student participation was coordinated by Class of 2014 students Erin Meidinger and Keon Ahghar, who acted as Dugoni School liasons to CDA Cares event coordinators. Together Meidinger and Ahghar, with the help of classmates and faculty, ensured all student volunteers were assigned to appropriate volunteer positions and were prepared for their experiences at the event.

“The CDA Cares events allow students to witness the great dental need that exists outside what they see in clinic and what they will see in their private practices,” said Meidinger. “Students are able to experience first-hand how they are personally able to make a difference in patients' lives and begin to appreciate the reality of the access to care issue. It is my hope that that because of this opportunity, students will feel motivated and empowered to take an active role in organized dentistry and finding solutions the access issues.”

“We’d like to thank the nearly 200 dental students and faculty members from UOP who volunteered at CDA Cares,” said Ken Wallis, DDS, chair of the CDA Cares San Jose clinic. “Their efforts helped make CDA Cares a huge success in providing treatment to patients in need.”

CDA Cares events were started by the CDA and the CDA Foundation in 2012 as a way to help address access to care issues facing many Californians. According to the CDA, an estimated 10 million Californians experience barriers to dental care, including children and the working poor who cannot afford needed care.

The next CDA Cares event is scheduled to be in San Diego December 7-8, 2013. The next Northern California event will be held in Vallejo on April 25-26, 2014. To learn more, visit the CDA Foundation web site.

Category Type: Community Outreach

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu