Hi, my name is Janella Bermúdez and I’m currently a fourth-year dental student at the University of Washington. I am one of eight students selected to be in the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) Program, an educational track of the UW. Through community-based experiences, RIDE develops socially responsible dentists who foster a commitment to improving the oral health of vulnerable communities.
Being a RIDE student fortifies the deep importance of solidarity with the underserved. During the summer quarter of my second year, I had the opportunity to complete a clinical rotation at a community health center in a farming community. This experience increased my knowledge in caring for diverse populations and allowed me to learn about the outreach done to connect migrant farm workers to the clinic and help them become patients. I will return to this same community for the last half of my fourth year and I am excited to be a part of a team that provides dental care to communities in need.
Joining the DeRouen Center
I am honored to be an intern at the UW Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health. The work done by the DeRouen Center shows me what empowering communities looks like intentionally and actively. I joined the DeRouen Center because I recognize the importance of global oral health in dental school education and the importance of becoming a global citizen. I believe global oral health means being intentional about how we heal communities in need. Health is not intended to be localized; health inequities of the underserved are a similar fight across the globe. Learning from communities abroad and building international partnerships benefits our home communities as well.
During my time here at the DeRouen Center, I applied to the Northern Pacific Global Health Research Fellowship to work in Kenya and I’m excited about the opportunity to witness global oral health out in the field. As I’m graduating from dental school, my time at the DeRouen Center has helped to expand my perspectives and to seek opportunities to make an impact in global oral health.