2019-19 J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows Bryan Yang and Caitlin Melvin were featured in the May 2020 issue of Pediatric Dentistry Today as part of an article about ways the AAPD student chapter at ECU is impacting communities. Here is an excerpt:
This year, the student chapter has adopted a toothbrushing program developed by two J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows, Bryan Yang and Caitlin Melvin. They designed, implemented and applied interventions to improve the oral health of elementary students. The pilot program took place at the East Carolina University Community School (ECUCS). The school is a collaboration between ECU and Pitt County Schools for grades K-5. ECUCS’s student body is deemed to have “critical needs” due to socioeconomic, academic, and other challenges.
Having kickstarted the program by developing a good relationship with the school’s principal, Bryan and Caitlin developed a year-long oral hygiene curriculum and constructed an affordable toothbrush cart for each classroom. Using a 3-D printer at the university’s undergraduate libary, the Fellows designed and created toothbrush racks for about $4.00 each. The racks were mounted on the carts, which also stored toothpaste, floss and personal hygiene bags for each student. Every Wenesday, the Fellows led 20-minute session on oral hygiene and coached the children in tooth brushing
In order to continue the ECUCS oral health project beyond 2019-19 Fellowship year, sustainability funds were awarded the the NC Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and Practicon, a local dental supply company, donated oral hygiene products. The ECU Community School expanded this year from six to eight classrooms, so SAAPD members created additional carts to accommodate the growing elementary school. Our goal is to sustain a dental component in the school curriculum, encourage teachers to lead toothbrushing daily and expand the program to include elementary schools near Community Service Learning Centers.