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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pre-Dental Club grows presence on campus

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Pre-dental undergraduates and members of the UA Pre-Dental Honors Society (DDS) participate in a photo illustration this Monday, October 10th, in front of Old Main. The DDS members all agreed that we should care about our dental health because poor dental care can lead to life threatening infections, as well as costly dental repairs in the future.

The Delta Delta Sigma Pre-Dental Club is attempting to bring a smile to Tucson this semester with more elementary school checkups and community events.

Started six years ago by a group of UA students interested in preparing for dental school, the club is part of the Delta Delta Sigma Pre-Dental Honor Society and is open to any student interested in dentistry.

“It’s been an amazing experience watching this club grow because they started out very small and I remember we could meet in a tiny room or seating area,” said facility adviser Stephanie Rollins. “At the banquet we held at the end of the year we had about 80 members.”

The next Pre-Dental Club meeting will be today at 6 p.m. in the Agave Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. The club meets every other week on Tuesdays at this time. Two weeks ago the club’s first meeting of the semester saw more than 40 interested students attend the information session, according to Julius Hindy, a psychology senior and president of the Pre-Dental Club.

“We had a lot of freshmen attend this year’s first meeting and I think it went really well,” Hindy said. “I feel anyone who had a little spark of interest was there. Each meeting we usually try to bring a dental related person from the community or specialist to get a sense of what they do.”

A goal the club wants to accomplish this year is proving more information on oral hygiene for elementary education. This semester, the club will visit schools in the Tucson Unified School District and teach children the benefits of teeth care by supplying new toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss to children donated by local dentists around Tucson.

“When we go to the schools we have a curriculum and we teach that curriculum to fourth and fifth graders to get them excited about oral health care,” Hindy said. “We have a dentist from the community come with us to take pictures of the kids’ teeth and then a month later we go back to the school and see how well they did.”

Another project the club will participate in this year is Hope Fest 2011. The event will provide free dental and medical care to the public at Kino Sports Complex on Oct. 22. Other items, including free clothing, hygiene products and food, will also be at the event. Kimberly Engols, a senior studying ecology and evolutionary biology and secretary of the club, volunteered last year helping dental practices at the event and remembers the large turnout.

“Oral heath professions like dentists and hygienists get together and perform free dentistry for people who can not afford it on a regular basis,” Engols said. “We help out as many people as we can. I have seen people camp out the night before the event just to make sure they will get seen when the gates open to the stadium in the morning.”

With projects and events lined up this school year, Rollins says the club will be trying to give experience to students as a way to stand out when applying to dental school after graduation from the UA.

“It’s a little more challenging finding experience in the dental setting than it is for students who are interested in getting some clinical experience who are pre-med,” Rollins said. “So having an active club that helps connect students with local dentists to get that kind of experience is really valuable for the students interested in the field.”

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