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Rewarding meeting between DeRouen Center interns and Dean Chiodo

At the end of 2019, the UW Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health interns took part in a breakfast meeting with Dr. Gary Chiodo, Dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry. The interns shared snapshots of their work in furthering the DeRouen Center’s mission.

DeRouen Center InternsOur very first interns, Sydney Russell and Marina Martinez, presented their stories on early growth of various international sites in collaboration with the DeRouen Center, and also shared how their intern experiences have led them to their career path after graduation. After leaving UW, Marina worked as Senior Quality Improvement Specialist at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and currently is a Business Operations Consultant at The Spur Group. Sydney is a Public Health Analyst with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at DHHS.

Susan Lee (at that time, senior dental student) shared her role in administration and advocacy. She excelled at promoting global oral health to the general public through social media, monthly newsletters, and fundraising events. Justin Kahng (current third year dental student) was one of our newer interns who presented his activities on advocacy through social media. Other interns spoke about awards and fellowships in public health. Jennifer Liu was one of the lead applicants in the Morrell Research Fund which was awarded to the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health in July 2019 for the project “Refugees’ Endeavors for Utilizing Governmental Existing Efforts in the State (REFUGEES); Dental Health Care Utilization Among Newly Resettled Refugees 2015-2018.” Poojashree Rajanbabu was awarded the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) Student Collaborative Project Stipend, which is intended to help students defray living expenses during their hands-on public health training experience for public and nonprofit health organizations in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon. Pooja was awarded this stipend for her cross-sectional study entitled, “Evaluating Refugee Children’s Oral Health in Washington State.”

After a brief presentation from the interns, Dean Chiodo shared inspiring stories about his journey in public health dentistry and how the field has changed over the years. Especially poignant was the early days of the HIV crisis in the 1980’s where he was one of the first oral health providers to treat HIV/AIDS patients.

This was a great experience for our interns to present their activities and to learn more about the Dean’s journey in dentistry and to understand more of the historical knowledge of dental public health. Opportunities like this enrich student experience and increases networking for future career development.

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