Emily Holt, clinical assistant professor of dental hygiene and dental assisting, provides free dental hygiene treatment for a patient during a two-day program at the USI Dental Hygiene Clinic.
Photo Credit: USI Photo Services
The Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Southern Indiana recently received a $2,000 service learning grant from the University to help promote opportunities for faculty to engage students in service learning projects related to dental assisting and dental hygiene. Service learning projects at USI foster community engagement and fall somewhere between volunteering and internship/field placement. They provide a clear benefit to the community and are excellent learning opportunities for students.
The grant funded a two-day program, August 1-2, for faculty members who provided free services for local dental patients with a financial need. Retired dentist and full-time faculty member Sam Euler conducted full examinations for patients and gave free advice on oral issues ranging from simple checkups to extensive dental work.
“Our main reason for doing this is to help our faculty understand the importance of service learning projects for both students and the community that is served,” said Emily Holt, clinical assistant professor of dental hygiene and dental assisting, who secured the grant.
Over the two days, the team saw more than 31 patients. In addition to Euler and Holt, team members included Jennifer Bartek, instructor in dental hygiene; Sheri Kipling, instructor in dental hygiene and dental assisting; and Kim Parsons, assistant professor of dental hygiene and dental assisting. Two of the faculty with previous service learning experience served as mentors for the group.
“Any time we can get our faculty on board and help them to understand the impact that service learning can make, it helps them become more creative about incorporating these kinds of opportunities into their classes,” added Holt. “We also knew that we could benefit the community while serving our own needs. Knowing that the Vanderburgh County Community Dental Clinic was closing, we thought that this would be a good service to offer the community.”
In addition to a full exam, patients received a complete dental hygiene treatment, x-rays, fluoride treatments and a rechargeable power toothbrush to take home. Patients were also offered paid roundtrip transportation through the METS bus system.
Clinic offers ongoing services
The USI Dental Hygiene Clinic, located in Room 1044 in the Health Professions Center, continues to offer low cost, professional services to adults and children of all ages. Services are performed by students in the Dental Hygiene Program and are supervised and evaluated by USI faculty.
The clinic offers dental hygiene treatment, radiographs (x-rays), fluoride, and sealants, all for one low fee. Appointments range from 90 minutes to several hours, depending on the age of the patient and services included.
During the fall (September through December), appointments are available at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. During the spring semester (January through April), appointment times are 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Call 812/464-1706 to make an appointment or receive more information.