Outreach

Teresa Fong, DDS

On February 1, 1950, then President Harry S. Truman proclaimed February 6 as National Children’s Dental Health Day. He declared that “the health of our children is of supreme importance to the future of the nation,” referencing the United States Congress’s joint resolution encouraging him to:

Give Kids a Smile

A winter tradition at the School of Dentistry, Give Kids a Smile brings student and faculty volunteers together to provide free oral health care to children in need throughout the community. The February event not only gives children much-needed treatment, but also connects families to a home for regular oral health care.

But, like so many other things, the pandemic forced a change of plans. Thankfully, however, the Give Kids a Smile organizers have been planning for this possibility since last fall.

School of Dentistry

Dr. Susan Buck-Wischmeier was named director of the School of Dentistry’s Outreach Division, effective June 8, 2020. She has served in a faculty role at the school since 2013 and as a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Outreach since 2017. She is a graduate of Colorado College and earned a DDS degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1996.

Elmi Ibrahim

For young Elmi Ibrahim, the sprawling refugee camp in the Kenyan desert where he spent eight years of his childhood was his entire world. After his father was killed in the civil war in their home country of Somalia, his mother fled to Kenya with Ibrahim and his four siblings.

Victoria Gokee

When Victoria Gokee completes her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Minnesota in two years, she is headed home to the southern shores of Lake Superior where she grew up surrounded by a large extended family and fellow members of the Red Cliff Tribe of Ojibwe.

Jenny Enich

With just 39 students in her high school graduating class, Jennifer Enich could play any varsity sport she wanted, beginning in eighth grade. There were no try-outs and everyone was encouraged to participate.

“The opportunities and the encouragement were huge,” said Enich, who grew up in Side Lake, Minnesota, and attended Chisholm High School. “I am who I am today because of the people in my small community.”

Gretchen Kletscher

Fourth-year DDS student Gretchen Kletscher grew up living on the Mississippi River in Brainerd, Minnesota. Today she’s eager to return to a lifestyle where she knows her neighbors and has access to great fishing and the other outdoor activities she loves.

Alyssa Hedstrom, DDS and Jessica Lettelleir

School of Dentistry student Jessica Lettelleir is spending three weeks of her summer break in tiny Gilbert, Minnesota, building her skills under the supervision of Dr. Witney Cobby, DMD.

This summer, 18 School of Dentistry students like Lettelleir are serving patients in rural communities, mentored by dentists in private practice.

The Minnesota Collaborative Rural Oral Health Project program aims to expand access to care in underserved rural Minnesota communities by introducing emerging providers to rural life and practice.

Give Kids a Smile 2019

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry dental, dental hygiene, dental therapy students, pediatric dentistry residents, staff and faculty came together on Saturday, February 9, at Moos Tower to provide oral health care to underserved children at the 14th annual Give Kids a Smile day.

Hibbing Community Center Dental Clinic celebration

The School of Dentistry and the Northeastern District Dental Society (NEDDS) co-hosted an August 31 event for more than 70 professional and community leaders in Hibbing to celebrate the Hibbing Community Center Dental Clinic and Dean-Emeritus Michael J. Till, DDS, MS, PhD, whose leadership and vision led to the clinic launch in Fall 2001. The dental clinic was the first cooperative initiative between the School of Dentistry and Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU).

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