Four Students Named Schweitzer Fellows at UNC Adams School of Dentistry

Dentistry Today


The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has selected four students from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Adams School of Dentistry as J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows.

Apoena Ribeiro, DDS, MS, PhD, will mentor students Sylvette Ramos-Diaz of the Class of 2024 and Arlet Montes Sanchez of the Class of 2023 in their project to establish the Hispanic Oral Health Prevention and Education (HOPE) program at Vidas de Esperanza, a free, student-run clinic in Siler City, North Carolina. John Stephen Kizer, MD, primary physician at the clinic, will be their site mentor.

The Vidas de Esperanza clinic predominantly serves the Hispanic and Latinx population of Siler City. The students will create videos, oral hygiene instruction (OHI), and follow-up instructional sessions in Spanish. They also will test and analyze oral microbiota to individualize patient treatment plans.

The HOPE program will serve as an improvement to the standard of care at the clinic, UNC Adams said. Not only will the clinic continue to provide essential restorative and oral surgery services, the school continued, but it also will now actively treat patients’ oral disease at the source by providing effective OHI and follow-up with patients in their native language.

“Many of our patients have never seen a dental provider in their life, and proper oral hygiene instruction is imperative for prevention or further progression of oral disease in this vulnerable community,” Ramos-Diaz and Montes Sanchez said. “We are excited to also use our bilingual skills to educate our patients on the effects of oral health on systemic health.”

Wendy Clark, DDS, MS, will mentor Glenn Baldwin and Adam Robinson, both of the Class of 2022, on their project to provide free dentures to patients at the student-run Student National Dental Association CAARE clinic in Durham, North Carolina. Baldwin and Robinson also will work with F. Vincent Allison III, DDS, as their site mentor.

“Our goal in dentistry is to positively impact lives by promoting oral health, and that is what this project is about. This project will enhance the services offered by the CAARE student dental clinic and be life changing for the patients served. Adam and I will gain additional experience that will aid our careers through establishing a program to provide high-quality dentures to the underserved community for years to come,” said Baldwin.

“The fellowship year will present us with an incredible opportunity to gain additional clinical training in removable dentures, digital workflows, and surgery procedures while also providing care to patients who would not otherwise have access. We are excited to work with community partners including Absolute Dental Services LLC, Local Start Dental, and CAARE Inc,” Baldwin said.

The North Carolina Fellows Program is a part of the US Schweitzer Fellows Program and provides a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.

The program is designed to give students the opportunity to provide health service to underserved populations with real-life situations where students can use their skills and knowledge, collaborate across disciplines, and exercise leadership skills by working with and influencing community-based organizations, local leaders, and more.

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