July 12, 2019 Melissa Lamar

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Tunxis dental hygiene students and faculty led a community service project in Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas May 15-22, the fourth time the program has provided services to underserved children of R.N. Gomez All-Ages School, part of a community which has limited health care and dental resources.

Dental hygiene student Claudenae Pruitt is shown screening a child from R.N. Gomez All-Age School.

A total of 111 students ages 3-17 from R.N. Gomez All-Age School received oral health and nutritional education, oral screening, and fluoride varnish application by Tunxis dental hygiene students. The children were also were given a kit with toothbrush and supplies to continue good oral health practices at home.

Tunxis dental faculty and several occupational therapy students and faculty from Quinnipiac University were part of the group, and recorded data and gave classroom presentations on health during the trip. On the last day of the mission, the entire team attended the R.N. Gomez School Parent-Teacher Organization meeting to update parents on children’s dental health improvement over the last several years.

A donation of health care supplies under a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Health Kit Outreach program enabled the team to more effectively provide the oral screenings, education and oral preventative services. The Health Kit Outreach program supports U.S.-based health professionals who provide volunteer care to at-risk and vulnerable populations globally.

Outcomes of this annual mission are dependent upon support from multiple constituents. In addition to Henry Schein Foundation, dental manufacturers and Connecticut dentists donated supplies for screenings, fluoride treatment, sealants and oral health kits. Students from Tunxis and Quinnipiac raised money for classroom activities and donated supplies. Ripples of Hope sponsored accommodations and ground transportation on Great Harbour Cay.

About Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene Program

TCC dental hygiene students have many opportunities to participate in community outreach projects on the local, national and international level, providing services to underserved populations including children, the elderly and those without dental insurance.

Community service is an integral part of the allied dental curriculum at Tunxis. These experiences allow students to apply the knowledge that they have gained in their courses to real world situations. While students learn about health disparities in class, these opportunities allow them to see the impact of issues related to lack of access to care.

The only public college in Connecticut to provide a degree program in dental hygiene, Tunxis is also the only known college in New England with a dental hygiene program that utilizes community clinic sites for the majority of students’ clinical experiences.

For information on how to apply to the dental hygiene program, visit tunxis.edu/ah.

About Henry Schein Cares

Henry Schein Cares stands on four pillars: engaging Team Schein members to reach their potential, ensuring accountability by extending ethical business practices to all levels within Henry Schein, promoting environmental sustainability, and expanding access to health care for underserved and at-risk communities around the world. Health care activities supported by Henry Schein Cares focus on three main areas: advancing wellness, building capacity in the delivery of health care services, and assisting in emergency preparedness and relief. To read more about how Henry Schein Cares makes a difference, please visit the foundation’s “Helping Health Happen Blog,” a platform for health care professionals to share their volunteer experiences delivering assistance to those in need globally: www.helpinghealthhappen.org.