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American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD)

The University of Michigan’s AAPHD student chapter strives to improve the oral and systemic health of the community by utilizing the student body’s diverse interests and skills. The chapter values interprofessional collaboration, and makes an effort to work with dental hygiene students and other healthcare providers to achieve this mission.

The chapter is guided by Dr. Michael Manz DDS, MS. Dr. Manz has used his public health background to introduce members to current public health data and dental legislation. He has connected the chapter with Michigan’s Health & Human Services Oral Health Director, who visited the school for a lunchtime Q&A about water fluoridation and mid-level providers.

In addition to recognizing the widespread scope of public health initiatives, the chapter provides opportunities for students to put their clinical abilities to use. Last year, dental and dental hygiene students volunteered to provide free cleanings, restorations, and extractions at the Ann Arbor Community Dental Center. These services were funded by grants, and allowed over forty low-income patients to receive dental care. These donated care days were unique educational opportunities for students because they were able to work in an environment with minimal time pressure and a favorable student to faculty ratio.

The University of Michigan’s AAPHD chapter has recently become involved with the Department of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes at Domino’s Farms Medical Center. This department provides biweekly diabetes education classes to an attentive and inquisitive group of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Dental and dental hygiene students collaborate to explain the relationship between diabetes and periodontitis to this group and to answer any additional oral health questions. The students benefit from this experience because they become adept at explaining this complex disease process in phrases that are easily understood by patients. This experience allows dental and dental hygiene students to learn from one another and to better appreciate the knowledge and skill set of their counterparts.

Our chapter looks for opportunities to allow underclassman to interact with upperclassmen, dental students to interact with dental hygiene, and dentistry to interact with other forms of medicine. The group provides experiences that not only benefit the patient’s health, but that allow students to grow into well-rounded and compassionate providers.

If you are interested in participating in part of an outreach-based group, become a member for the 2016-2017 school year by contacting AAPHD or find us on Facebook.

edited 1/26/2017