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Community Health- a DH3 leads in High Schoolers

January 25, 2011

My DH3 experience this school year has been very rewarding!  I’ve had an opportunity to participate in many organizations within the dental school.

"Dexter" Head for Radiographing

"Dexter" Head for Radiographing

However, my favorite experience thus far, has been participating in mentoring Ypsilanti High School students on Saturday mornings.  This is the second year Dr. Marita Inglehart has organized the program and it is a wonderful experience for the Ypsilanti students to learn more about careers in the health professions, particularly dentistry.  The program is open to 3rd and 4th year dental and dental hygiene students.  Our mentoring activities are planned by Dr. Inglehart, but we (U of M students) are responsible for actually organizing and implementing the activities.  During the Fall 2010 semester the program took place at Ypsilanti High School.  Our activities included resume writing, filling out college applications, information on various health careers, and an end of the year health fair!  The Ypsilanti students were responsible for advertising the health fair and setting up where the health fair would take place (Ypsilanti High School Media Center).  U of M dental students and faculty performed oral health screenings on all who attended.  The Ypsilanti students were able to assist and shadow, as well as educate children and parents on proper oral hygiene.

During the Winter 2011 semester, the Ypsilanti students come to the dental school Saturday mornings for the program.  Dr. Inglehart arranged for a bus to meet the students at the high school and bring them to the dental school.  We have had 3 sessions this semester and the Ypsilanti students really seem to enjoy themselves.   The first Saturday back from break we had the students tour the dental school, discover the process it takes to become a patient at the school, and receive HIPAA training.  The second Saturday session, the students were able to repair a chipped tooth using wax in our Sim Lab.  I could see the students loved the hands-on experience.  We will definitely see future dentist and hygienist coming our way!  This past Saturday (Jan 22), the students learned the importance of the Medical and Dental History, how to Treatment Plan, and how we use a Perio Chart.  The students also had an opportunity to see our Radiology department and how the dental and dental hygiene students learn to take radiographs on “Dexter” (Mannequins). 

The opportunity Dr. Inglehart has provided for these students is invaluable!  I have always been interested in dentistry from a young age and I wish I had this same opportunity when I was in high school.  I love I am able to help out in a small way every Saturday! I am excited to see how successful these students will be one day!

Elizabeth Easter is a current 3rd year dental hygiene student, orginially from Detroit, MI.  She obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from Howard University in 2007.  Elizabeth has a passion for community development, and plans to work in community dentistry in the future!  For information about the Ypsilanti High School partnership, email

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