October 19, 2016
Thousands of people from throughout California's Central Valley had a new reason to smile last weekend thanks to the generosity of hundreds of dental professionals, dental students and other volunteers from the local community.
Volunteers from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry joined forces with the California Dental Association (CDA) for a CDA Cares event held in Stockton on the weekend of Oct. 15-16. Patients lined up as early as Friday to receive free oral health services and education at the event, which was held at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.
Volunteers provided services such as cleanings, fillings, extractions, oral health education, root canals and a limited number of dentures and temporary partial dentures. According to the CDA, dentists and dental team members provided nearly $1.8 million in volunteer oral health care services to 2,066 people at the event. The professionals provided 14,178 dental procedures, including fillings, extractions, cleanings and oral health education. Volunteer technicians in the clinic's dental lab area worked to provide 250 complete and partial dentures and repairs. CDA's preliminary estimates indicated that 2,365 tooth extractions were necessary.
Key student leaders from the Dugoni School included Cassandra Kalapsa DDS '17, Yoo Jung Kim DDS '17, Liza Pomerantz '17 and Alex Meade DDS '18, all officers in the school's Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) Program. SCOPE officers energized approximately 60 of their peers to travel several hours and volunteer in Stockton. Professor Chris Miller, director of community health programs at the Dugoni School, noted the opportunity for students to witness first-hand one of many methods professionals take to address the thousands of people needing dental care.
The Dugoni School's Alumni Association hosted a reception at the Hilton Hotel in Stockton on Saturday night to thank the Dugoni School volunteers and local alumni, who were on their feet for as many as 12 hours a day.
This CDA Foundation event was co-chaired by longtime Stockton dentists Bruce Toy and Brad Louie. Dr. Toy is an alumnus of the Dugoni School and serves as the treasurer of the alumni board. He has practiced in Stockton for 35 years and has chaired the local Give Kids a Smile events and established a free local dental clinic of his own. Dr. Louie has volunteered at a number of CDA Cares events and has practiced in the area for 32 years. Dr. Cindy Lyon ‘86, an alumnus and chair of the Dugoni School's Department of Dental Practice and Community Programs directed the prevention services all Saturday and Sunday.
The CDA and the CDA Foundation began offering CDA Cares events as a way to help address access-to care issues facing many Californians. CDA Cares allows volunteer dentists, with the assistance of other dental professionals and community volunteers, to provide dental services at no charge to thousands of underserved people. According to the CDA, an estimated 10 million Californians experience barriers to dental care, including children and the working poor.