Community Service Projects

Student Community Service Program:
Students have the opportunity to learn, through providing community service. The most important aspect of the Service Learning Program is how to help patients improve their oral health and how to become an active member of the community when they have their own practices. Service activities help foster civic responsibility in addition to helping meet the needs of a community. The service can be completed in several ways: working with children in shelters or day care; giving blood; working with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts; 4H; Health Fairs; volunteering at the hospitals or nursing homes; providing dental health education programs in schools or participating in church sponsored programs. The intent of this activity is to assist students in identifying and meeting health & social needs of the community.

West Virginia Institute for Community and Rural Health:
Rural dental faculty provide clinical guidance for dental and dental hygiene students and serve on interprofessional faculty/student teams. Students live within the community, working and socializing with the members in hopes of achieving a new level of responsiveness to the needs of the residents of the community. Dental and dental hygiene students returning from the community sites have reported the experience to be very beneficial and rewarding.

Morgantown HealthRight:
This is a volunteer program to help provide care for those West Virginians who are not eligible for Medicaid, have no health insurance and yet cannot pay for their own care. There is a cooperative effort between faculty, students, staff and local dentists in the Morgantown area.

Health Fairs:
Each year Health Fairs are held at Morgantown Mall, Mountaineer Mall, the Towers Student Housing, and numerous sites throughout Morgantown. The displays are staffed by dental & dental hygiene students, School of Dentistry staff and faculty. Throughout the year, there are mini-health fairs presented by various schools, health departments etc. throughout West Virginia in which the School of Dentistry often participates.

State-Wide Save Face/Through With Chew Campaign:
The objective of this program is to enlighten and educate West Virginians to the health hazards associated with smokeless tobacco and the influence it has on children. The activities are coordinated with local dentists, physicians, coaches, teachers and others who are actively involved with children. The goal is for multiple partners to provide a consistent message regarding the dangers of using smokeless tobacco.

"Oral Care for the Dependent Patient":
An educational DVD being used by nursing facilities across America as a valuable addition to staff development and as an aid in helping develop a plan of daily mouth care and infection control for the dependent patient. The program provides the structure for an excellent dental in-service for care givers. The video is available for $53.50. Please contact the Department of Dental Practice & Rural Health, PO Box 9415, Morgantown, WV 26506-9415, (304) 293-5912 for more information.

Special Olympics, Special Smiles:
The Department coordinates the Special Olympics Special Smiles program at the Summer Games in Charleston. Special Smiles provides an oral screening for the athletes. The information from the screening is reported to the National and State Offices of Special Olympics.

Helping Appalachian Parents and Infants Project:
West Virginia University School of Dentistry has partnered with Philips Oral Healthcare Inc. (Sonicare) and the WV Healthy Start/Helping Appalachian Parents & Infants (HAPI) Project. The sole focus of the HAPI Project is to help women and their families have the healthiest babies and families possible. The HAPI Project is coordinated through the WVU School of Medicine, Department of OB/GYN and works with pregnant women who are considered high risk for pre-term babies. The Department has recruited dentists that are providing oral exams and dental cleanings for the women within the counties of Barbour, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor and Upshur. We collaborate with the WVU Birth Score Office to provide appropriate materials to families about the importance of oral health for infants and toddlers. We are also participating in a statewide perinatal wellness project.

Smiles Across America – WV:
Oral Health America (OHA) is partnering with the National Sealant Alliance to bring attention to the importance of sealants, particularly for high-risk children. The program targets families that do not qualify for Medicaid or CHIPS and are unable to afford preventative dental services. Many families find it difficult to provide the essential or emergent services their children need. It is especially rewarding to be able to offer the preventive services to families that bring their children for emergent services. There are clinics/offices throughout West Virginia participating in the Smiles Across WV Program.

WV Extension Service:
The Department continues to partner with WVU Extension Services to promote oral health through 4-H clubs.

West Virginia Dental Home Initiative:
The Department is partnering with the Office of Head Start to provide dental homes to young children who may otherwise go without care. This five year initiative will allow for Head Start and Early Head Start children to access oral health care through the development of a network of dentists to: Provide quality dental homes; Train teams of dentists and Head Start personnel in optimal oral health care practices; and Assist Head Start programs in obtaining comprehensive services to meet the full range of Head Start children’s oral health needs. The collaboration will also help provide parents, caregivers and Head Start staff with the latest evidence-based information on how they can help prevent tooth decay and establish a foundation for a lifetime of oral health.