November, 2018 - In collaboration with Remote Area Medical, Stony Brook Medicine helped provide much-needed oral health care services to over 260 patients in Gloucester, Virginia at the Ware Academy.
For Dr. Clarisa Amarillas Gastelum, her work providing oral health care services in Gloucester, Virginia was a clear reminder: “This is why I do this.” According to Dr. Amarillas Gastelum, Assistant Professor in the Department of General Dentistry, patients were moved to tears from happiness upon the completion of their treatment. These fleeting moments of relief and joy are common throughout an otherwise bleak picture.
The need for dental, vision and medical care is dire for those with little to no access in the regions serviced by the temporary pop-up clinics of Remote Area Medical (RAM). RAM, a nonprofit organization, partners with skilled healthcare providers like Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine to meet its mission to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing free, quality healthcare to those in need.
“It’s astounding how the lack of dental care can be so close to home,” said Devin Klein, a student of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. “I wanted to participate in this mission because of the vast number of underserved patients that live in the United States.” Mr. Klein was also exposed to the country’s often extreme need for oral health care services on a previous Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine outreach effort in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine faculty and students participate in RAM events one to two times per year in rural towns of both Virginia and Tennessee. With each visit, members of our community witness long lines of people willing to wait hours to days for free dental, vision, and medical care which would have otherwise been out of their reach. Because of the intense level of need, attendees are often made to choose between dental and vision services.
“I feel that it is our responsibility as dental professionals to give back to the community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Seiver, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of General Dentistry. “This experience allowed me to extend that service outside of my own area and to help those individuals in other parts of the country that are in need.”
The dedicated team of student and faculty members of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine was able to contribute oral health care services, alongside dental professionals from across the country, to 265 patients including the provision of 155 restorations and 252 extractions.
Emergency services like extractions often meant the end of long-suffered pain for many of those seeking treatment. “The first patient that I treated needed multiple teeth extracted,” said Mr. Klein. “The next day he made a point to come back into the dental clinic to find me and tell me how thankful he was that I was able to relieve his pain and suffering. It is extremely important to give back.”
“Community service is a win-win,” said Dr. Seiver. “It helps those in need and creates a rewarding experience for those giving of their time and skills.”
2018 Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine Gloucester, VA Outreach Mission Team:
Dr. Clarisa Amarillas Gastelum
Dr. Gabriel Conte
Dr. Scott Firestone
Dr. Jeffrey Seiver
Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine Faculty Members at a Remote Area Medical Pop-up Clinic in Gloucester, VA. Pictured L-R: Dr. Gabriele Conte, Dr. Clarisa Amarillas Gastelum, Dr. Jeffrey Seiver, and Dr. Scott Firestone.