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Hygiene Kick-Off Raises Awareness of Oral Cancer

April 12, 2012

Being involved in student organizations is large part of my educational experience here at the University of Michigan.  As the President of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association (SADHA), I help plan and organize various activities for our members.  This winter, we held our annual SADHA Winter Kick-Off which is organized for all three dental hygiene classes.  Usually, the three dental hygiene classes are separated because we all have different courses and rotations based on our year.  The Kick-Off allows the chance for all three levels to interact and start the new semester off in a positive manner!

Our Winter Kick-Off had activities organized around the theme for our Relay for Life team… Oral Cancer Awareness.  The first part of the activities was a Lunch & Learn by Stacy from GlaxoSmithKline on “Managing Patients with Xerostomia.”  Xerostomia (Dry Mouth) is a condition affecting a large number of individuals just from use of medications.  However, cancer patients going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments can experience permanent loss of salivary gland function.

The second part to the afternoon was also the most moving portion.  We played a video of Eva Grayzel telling her story as a Oral Cancer survivor.

Her story is a very compelling, detailed, and intense depiction of what she had to endure.  By playing the video for the students it was a chance to show a true story of how Oral Cancer changes lives.

Finally, in order to tie in Oral Cancer Awareness and help fundraise for our Relay for life team, we held a competition between the hygiene students!  Groups of 8-10 students had to design a button for Oral Cancer Awareness and the design that won would be placed on a button for our Relay for Life team!  Each group design was judged by Dr. Paul Edwards (Professor of Periodontics and Oral Medicine), Chris Jung (Multimedia Designer), Katherine Brown (D1 Student), & Lisa Dodge (Senior Administration Assistant) to help make the final decision.  Everyone truly enjoyed themselves!

Last year when SADHA participated in Relay for Life we helped raise over $8,000!  This year we want to continue to help make an impact and our Winter Kick-Off was just the beginning of a lot more to come!!!!

Elizabeth Easter is a graduating DH4 dental hygiene student, originally 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.

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