October 26, 2017
For Pan-Asian Student Dental Association (PASDA) president, Timothy Ng, volunteering to improve oral health in communities of need, is close to home. “Growing up in a low-income family myself, I understand the huge disparity in dental education and care,” says Ng. “I want to be able to help these people out. They deserve to have proper oral health.”
The mission of the Pan-Asian Student Dental Association (PASDA) is to educate and provide oral care to under-served and/or immigrant populations throughout the Chicago area, as well as to create a platform for dental students to engage in inter-professional care with other health disciplines.
There is a great need for oral education and care among the Asian-American community within Chicago. We have Goldie's Place, the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) and others that reach certain populations, but many people still do not seek care or know about the care provided at our school,” adds Ng.
The UIC chapter of PASDA is a new, but growing organization, that is attracting many dental students to their cause. “Our first general body meeting was in early October 2017, and we have around two dozen interested students on our list serv, “says Ng.
PASDA is also attracting an online following through their new Facebook page (@UICPASDA) where students and other followers can get updates and learn about their upcoming events.
Making a Difference in the Community
PASDA has already begun making a difference in their communities of interest. They take a collaborative approach by engaging with other Chicago area medical schools to round out not only the volunteer experience, but also to offer a wider range of care to patients. At their first event on Saturday, October 21 at St. James Church, they partnered with the Rush Medical School to perform oral health instruction. They provided care to over 50 patients.
PASDA students volunteer at St. James Church, where they partnered with the Rush Medical School to perform oral health instruction. They provided care to over 50 patients.
“The biggest need would probably be educational,” says Ng. “At our last health fair event, nearly all of the patients did not know how to properly brush and floss their teeth. They also believed tooth loss/decay to be a normal process, and most have not seen a dentist for many years or even decades.”
Most people don’t realize the importance and connection of having good oral health to overall well-being. Good oral health enhances our ability to speak, smile, eat, and show our emotions through facial expressions. This translates to all sorts of lifelong benefits, from improved learning in school to a higher likelihood of desirable employment. Despite advances in care, education and technology, a sizable number of Americans still go without basic dental care, many of which are in under-served communities. One in four American adults still has untreated tooth decay. This equates to almost 2.5 million adults in Illinois suffering from various oral diseases.
“Most of the people we talk to while volunteering have negative perceptions of dentists and are not aware that they may have periodontal (gum) disease,” adds Ng. Without treatment, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, or even complications of other conditions such as diabetes.
“It is important for dental students to reach out to any disadvantaged population so that they can receive the help and education they need. UIC is all about diversity and community health, and volunteering gives students a great opportunity to gain more experience and empathy, while improving skills on difficult cases.”
-- Timothy Ng, President Pan-Asian Student Dental Association,
DMD Candidate, Class of 2020
PASDA has a major health fair coming up in Chinatown on Saturday, November 4 from 9 am - 1 pm. It will be located at the Chinese Community Center at 250 W 22nd Pl Chicago, IL 60616. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The group will be partnering up with Rush, Loyola, and UIC medical/pharmacy schools. D3/D4/A3/A4s will be performing intraoral and extraoral screenings, while D1/D2s will be assisting. “We expect to see over 200 patients at this event,” says Ng.
How to Get Involved
If you’re interested in getting involved with PASDA, contact:
Pan-Asian Student Dental Association | President
DMD Candidate, Class of 2020
And visit them online at:
Facebook page (@UICPASDA)