April 2019 – Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine supported an inaugural health fair within the Town of Southold on the northeastern tip of Suffolk County. Organized partnership with the Town of Southold, Eastern Long Island Hospital and Community Action Southold Town (CAST), the event offered health screenings and informational resources alongside fun activities for children and families.
The timing of the April event coincided with Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign dedicated to informing the public of the disease and its risk factors. Through the efforts of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s team of faculty, students, and clinical staff, adults were provided with free oral cancer screenings, while children were provided with free dental screenings.
According to Dr. David Lam, Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, offering screenings helps to save lives. "If detected early, oral cancer has an 80% survival rate. The most effective way to manage oral cancer is to combine early diagnosis with timely and appropriate treatment,” said Dr. Lam.
In addition to receiving these critical screenings, all participants were provided with a hygiene kit that included a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, and informational materials on best oral hygiene practices. Through the use of puppets, children learned proper brushing techniques and were taught the importance of keeping their mouths healthy.
“It was a pleasure to be a member of the core team to develop this health fair for the Town of Southold”, said Margaret Bakos, MSW, MA, Director of Community Outreach. “ This was a great opportunity to bring awareness to the community on good oral health and the importance of oral cancer screenings”.
Participation in the health fair is a natural fit; Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine regularly brings oral health care services to undeserved communities throughout Long Island by visiting local school districts and homeless shelters. Furthermore, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine plans to expand its reach into Long Island's North Fork utilizing its Mobile Dental Clinic.