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Migrant Worker Program

August 5, 2011

Andrew Ekdahl, Steve Davis and Chad Wert Showing a Little Traverse City Style

Greetings again! Summer vacation is here and just wanted to take a few minutes to highlight a unique component of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry curriculum. Each D4 student is assigned a minimum of 10 weeks of external rotations throughout the state of Michigan, 29 sites in all. The individual behind making this opportunity a reality is Dr. Piskorowski, Director of Outreach and Community Affairs, and to him we (all D4’s) owe him a collective thank you! Recently, I had the pleasure of working in Traverse City for two weeks in July, and what an experience! I was part of the Migrant worker program, which started nearly 30 years ago and serves individuals who travel throughout the state and country hand picking crops (cherries, apples, etc.) and are underserved and often lack access to care.

At Northwest Michigan Health Services the dental clinic is in the same facility as the medical clinic, offering patients a comprehensive care home for their healthcare needs.  The preceptor overseeing the dental and dental hygiene students is Dr. Allen Hoeft. He and his staff have transformed a few empty rooms into a fully functional dental office in a matter of months. Supplies were ordered, systems were put in place, a little Spanglish was spoken, and at the end of the day, a lot of good was done. The patients improved their oral and overall health and we as students learned that no matter what the language, excellent care can be provided.

During those two weeks, I also had the opportunity to spend a day with Grand Traverse Oral Surgery and Garfield Dental Clinic. These were two amazing days working with very passionate and talented instructors and learning what life is like in a private oral surgery clinic and dental office. Special thanks to Dr. Madion, Dr. Fountain, Dr. Olsen, Dr. Chao, Dr. Yancho, and Dr. Kehr for your time and generous hospitality!

Hope this motivates and inspires all those who are currently applying or preparing to apply dental school, get those AADSAS applications going! I’m currently busy finishing my PASS/MATCH application for periodontic residencies, but that’s for another entry.

Steve Davis, a D4, is looking forward to spending some time on the water during August, catching up on some reading, and is getting pretty excited for football season! GO BLUE! 

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