A.T. Still students, staff provide dental care for veterans
December 01, 2016
Veterans: Three third-year A.T. Still University dental students, who are also veterans, provided dental care to patients in Dexter, Mo. Veterans and third-year dental students, Mike Love (far left), Shea Wilson (second from right) and Peter Le (far right) joined their fellow students Elizabeth Lewis, Christina Bennett, Megan Sparks, and Matthew Scott, to provide oral health care to veterans in Dexter.
— In celebration of Veterans Day, A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry students and staff, along with St. Louis Dental Center dentists, provided care to veterans in Southeastern Missouri.
In all, volunteers — including dental students and dentists who are also military veterans — provided health care services to 24 patients, including 15 veterans, at Smiles of Hope Dental Clinic at Lighthouse Church in Dexter, Missouri.
"Many of the veterans had travelled hours to receive care and had multiple teeth that needed attention," said Mike Love, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a third-year dental student at A.T. Still. "Although there was not time to exchange military service stories, all were proud to share their branch of service and career field. I think it meant a lot to the service men and women that they were being cared for by a fellow vet.
Service: A.T. Still University dental students and faculty pose for a photo after providing dental care to veterans in southeast Missouri. (From left, front row) Patricia Inks, associate director, dentistry in the community/integrated community service partnerships; Dr. Dwight E. McLeod, dean; Dr. Poonam Jain, professor and interim assistant dean for clinical operations; dental students Megan Sparks and Christina Bennett. (From left, back row) Dr. Herbert Silva, director, comprehensive care unit; Shea Wilson, dental student; Dr. Gary London, adjunct faculty; and dental students Michael Love, Elizabeth Lewis, Peter Le and Matthew Scott.
The team helped veterans who were in acute or chronic pain and have challenges accessing dental care because of a lack of professional dental services in the area or for financial reasons.
"We are so fortunate to have veterans on our team who care deeply about the needs of fellow veterans who are less fortunate," said Dr. Dwight McLeod, dean of ATSU dental school. "It is simply impossible to function effectively if you are in pain, and poor oral health affects overall health and well-being. Community outreach is one of our core values, and we value the opportunity to improve lives."