HSDM student outreach project receives ADA award

ACTION: Jennifer Bai, Lily Liu, Jeffrey Reardon, Tina Ren, Kristen Huber, Lauren Kai, Elizabeth Eve, Lisa Simon, and Neha Patel
ACTION: Jennifer Bai, Lily Liu, Jeffrey Reardon, Tina Ren, Kristen Huber, Lauren Kai, Elizabeth Eve, Lisa Simon, and Neha Patel

A team of HSDM students recently received the 2013 ADA Foundation Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership award for their work with the ACTION (Action for Children and Teens in Oral Health Need) student-run pediatric dental clinic. The award annually highlights significant dental student outreach to vulnerable communities within the United States. Only one application from each dental school is accepted. This year is the first year that six awards of $5,000 are being made to dental schools on behalf of the students' winning outreach efforts.

One Saturday a month, HSDM students at all levels of training serve as providers, assistants, and managers at the Windsor Street Dental Clinic at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which supports the ACTION clinic by providing an attending dentist and front-desk staff. Ninety-nine percent of the patients seen are MassHealth-eligible, and 57 percent are non-English-speaking. Through Cambridge Health Alliance, MassHealth is billed for services provided, allowing care to be offered at no cost to patients while remaining completely sustainable.

ACTION plans to use the grant funds to continue to provide high-quality care to Cambridge and Somerville families, including purchasing new books and toys for the waiting area and oral health education materials. The grant will also allow the students to share their innovative clinic model at the annual Society for Student-Run Free Clinics conference in Nashville, Tenn., later this month.

The ACTION board currently includes HSDM students Jennifer Bai, Elizabeth Eve, Kristen Huber, Lauren Kai, Lily Liu, Neha Patel, Jeff Reardon, Tina Ren, and Lisa Simon. Faculty supervisors are Dr. Brian Swann and Dr. David Okuji.