Beginning on Saturday, January 21, 2023 and for eight more Saturdays over the course of the Spring semester, Iowa Dentistry 38 dental students had the opportunity to provide clinical outreach care for patients at the His Hands Clinic in Cedar Rapids, a free medical and dental clinic aimed at helping those who are uninsured or underinsured.
Jeff Akey ('87 DDS), who graduated along with Dean Clark Stanford, is the dental director at the clinic, and he and Dan Caplan, professor of preventive and community dentistry, arranged for Iowa Dentistry students to assist in the clinic for nine Saturdays over the course of the spring semester.
The students provided care for 44 patients, including16 hygiene patients (exams, x-rays, scale, prophy, and fluoride), 14 operative patients, and 14 extraction patients. The estimated worth of the dental services provided was $32,707.
Four student leaders, Sarah Saey, Krayton Schnepf, Luke Hovey, and Olivia Bartholomew organized other students and took turns leading groups of students to assist over the course of the semester.
Akey highlighted one particular student, fourth-year dental student Luke Farley, who was very excited about the prospect of potentially doing a full mouth extraction. Farley ended up coming to seven out of the nine Saturdays.
Akey said of Farley, "I don't think there are any more teeth to be pulled in Cedar Rapids! He went above and beyond, and it was so fun to work with him, as it was with every student."
But Farley was not alone.
"All the students were so upbeat and positive at the clinic. They helped each other out and communicated wonderfully with each other and the patients. Each week I was consistently impressed with the students' delightful attitudes they brought to the clinic. They were extremely polite and informative to the patients," said Akey.
And the patients appreciated the care provided too. Akey indicated that he heard patient comment on how the student served them well, and showed great skill in their work. He also noted that they were thorough in their work, even charting well.
"It just showed me what kind of quality education they are receiving from the College of Dentistry," Akey explained.
But the work continues. Akey plans to return to the clinic in the fall, and the plan is to continue doing two Saturdays a month with Iowa Dentistry students again beginning in October and lasting until May 2024. Akey mentioned that right now he is the only adjunct overseeing the students, but it may be helpful if other faculty, adjunct or otherwise, would consider getting involved.
The impact on patients and on students is invaluable. Akey mentioned that one student expressed interest in building "a clinic just like this!"
Other participating students included: