This week was a very short week! I started the week off with taking care of my own oral health with a check-up visit to my dentist. When I got to the clinic, I started with making edits to the brochure in the morning. I caught up on a lot of emails I had to send and finished up the day with researching other clinics!
I learned a ton on Tuesday! I spent the whole day shadowing one of our KidSMILES board members, Dr. Jeff Milton, at his private practice in Powell, Olentangy Pediatric Dentistry. I started the day by observing a few basic procedures and a surgery that required oral sedation. It was really cool to see how Dr. Milton utilized different techniques to make each patient comfortable and how well he communicated with parents and patients. The office itself had a fantastic, kid-friendly feel to it, and kids could really have fun and feel comfortable with the atmosphere of Dr. Milton’s practice. I was very surprised at the volume of patients Dr. Milton saw in the morning, while balancing a surgery, check-ups, and different types of procedures. After we got the chance for a break during lunch, I got to talk to Dr. Milton about his path through dentistry, some of the ideas I have for my future goals in dentistry, and some specific questions that came up in the morning. After lunch, I continued my shadowing where I observed Dr. Milton work with a few patients with special needs. I was again, even more surprised and impressed at how Dr. Milton handled his patients and worked with his patient’s parents so well.
I noticed many of his patients were referred to him by general dentists and other patients because Dr. Milton was so experienced and had much more training from his pediatric dentistry residency and CE courses. After Dr. Milton saw all his patients for the day, we talked for a good twenty minutes about what I saw and some questions I had about the dental school admissions process. I got some really good insights about my dental school training, and also some insights about my interests in specializing in pediatric dentistry.
On Wednesday, I spent the morning finalizing the patient brochure and organizing all of our outreach photographs we have had since the inception of the outreach program. In the afternoon, I had a meeting with Laura and our VISTAs working at the clinic talking about our outreach program and our history. It was great that Eric and Tionne got a chance to come to an outreach visit last Friday to experience what we do firsthand. At this meeting, we talked more about the history, broader impact, and the goal behind the outreach program.
I finished up the week on Thursday by going to an outreach visit with Eric with the WARM Summer Lunch Program (pictures to come). We went to Walnut Ridge Park near uptown Westerville and saw about 20 kids. It was really interesting because this site usually has a lot of activities for the kids. This week, a youth pastor from a local Westerville Church brought tons of drums and drum sticks and his own drum set for a drum circle with the kids!
I gave a large group presentation to all of the kids about oral health in general and played the nutrition game with different healthy and unhealthy food choices with the group. After our presentation, we brought out the chocolate frosting activity and poster games for the kids to play with. We also handed out goodie bags to all of the kids. Overall, it was a fantastic visit!
When I got back to the clinic, we had a mini-informal-team meeting where we discussed all of our accomplishments the past two weeks. We talked about some of our next steps and had a great conversation. After, the VISTAs and I got a comprehensive overview of fundraising and development from Norma. It was so cool to learn about fundraising and development – a field I know very little about, but I really should know a lot about! In any path I want to take through dentistry, I think it’s important to know basic principles, and if I ever need to, get a good picture of what happens in a fundraising and development team. Norma’s perspective and experience was really cool to hear because she has led departments and initiatives at universities, Columbus Museum of Art, Girl Scouts, and more.
I had such a fantastic week and I learned about different topics I would never have been exposed to. This fellowship has been fantastic not only in helping me learn more about dentistry, but broaden my perspective and knowledge of different fields that are so relevant to my future goals!