The North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has selected four UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry students as J. Bradley Wilson Schweitzer Fellows: Trent Bottoms, Samantha Sloand, Dani Fox and Damian Slaczka, all DDS Candidates 2020.
Bottoms and Sloand will provide free dentures and oral health education for homeless patients of the Durham Rescue Mission through the Samaritan Health Clinic. The Samaritan Health Clinic offers a free dental clinic that operates of the Durham Rescue Mission. Students and faculty from the Adams School of Dentistry volunteer to hold the weekly clinic on Thursday evenings. Bottoms and Sloand will work closely with Beau Meyer, DDS, MPH, of the school’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
“I am excited about the opportunity to restore smiles and confidence in those that need it most,” said Bottoms.
Fox and Slaczka will provide free root canal services to low income individuals in an effort to save teeth from permanent extraction. Patients who are able to save their teeth from extraction tend to exhibit an increased social and psycholoical well-being, including improved self-confidence, social self-esteem and career advancements compare to those without teeth. The faculty advisor for Fox and Slaczka will be Mary Pettiette, DDS, the school’s associate dean of admissions and student life and Glen Karunanayake, BDS, MS, a member of the school’s endodontics faculty.
Upon completion of their initial year, the four students will become Schweitzer Fellows for life, a network of more than 4,000 individuals who are skilled in and committed to addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their professional careers.
The North Carolina Fellowship is a part of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program, and provides a one-year interdisciplinary, mentored fellowship program focused on health-related community service and leadership development.
The program gives students the opportunity to provide health service to underserved populations with real-life situations where students can use their skills and knowledge, collaborate across disciplines, and exercise leadership skills by working with and influencing community-based organizations, local leaders and more.
Last year’s fellows were Meagan Laframboise Inclan, Katrina Ashlin, Beth Haymore and Minka Hotic, all DDS ‘19. Inclan and Ashlin created an educational workshop series and screening event at the Triangle Down Syndrome Network to address the importance of dental hygiene and provide ways to improve hygiene routines at home. Haymore and Hotic worked to expand free dental services to teens who weren’t reached by existing services through the dental Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) clinic.