The Division of Education, Advocacy and Outreach takes the quest for good oral health from the classroom to the front lines. Recognizing that improving oral health is a multi-faceted effort, the division melds a focus on education with a highly visible, active role in the community.
The division delivers a number of graduate and undergraduate courses designed to help dental students better understand the issues surrounding oral health, increase their knowledge of oral diseases and frequency in various populations, and learn how to conduct clinical oral health research. Course topics include oral health promotion and epidemiology.
The Division’s Community Dental Health Program also allows students from Tufts, as well as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, experience in treating high-risk patients.
The division brings its expertise to local and state public health initiatives. Proactive in policy development impacting oral health, the division has been involved in efforts to reform state-funded health insurance, among other activities. It also has collaborated with various public health interest groups and government agencies in the delivery of improved oral care.
Providing quality dental care and education, the division undertakes a variety of community activities, including:
- Services at Health Fairs and Community Health Centers. The division works with local organizations to offer screenings and prevention education.
- Services for Underserved Populations. Joining forces with community programs, hospitals and organizations such as the Special Olympics, the division provides screenings, preventive care and education to patients who might not otherwise receive adequate care.
- School-based Initiatives. The division designs and implements dental programs in public schools, offering restorative care and screenings.
- Dental Mission. The division organizes and sponsors trips to countries such as Ecuador, where students and faculty offer preventive care, screenings and education.
- Community Service and Learning Externship Program.For nearly 35 years, the School of Dental Medicine has expanded students’ training – and broadened their perspectives – with a mandatory five-week “externship” in one of 25 facilities across the country. Working in community health centers, veterans’ facilities, prisons and military bases, students gain hands-on experience in providing care to individuals whose access to care is limited.
- TUSDM Students: Learn more about program sites on TUSK
Serving 10,000 patients annually, the Community Dental Health Program delivers on-site dental health services to high-risk populations in schools, Head Start programs, adult day activity centers, sheltered workshops and community residences. Eight dental hygienists travel throughout the state with portable dental equipment, providing oral health education, screening, dental cleaning, dental sealants and fluoride application to Head Start students, students with special needs and other individuals. Hygienists also make referrals to local dentists and offer ongoing case management services, providing a critical continuum of care that extends beyond twice-yearly cleanings.