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Dental Hygiene Students Donate Toward Toothbrushes for Mission

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Oct. 21, 2014 | Students in the dental hygiene program of the UAMS College of Health Professions recently pitched in to buy more than 500 toothbrushes to be sent to help those in need in Central America.

In the process, the students got a lesson in community service. It started when a graduate of the college’s laboratory sciences program contacted the college seeking a suggestion to get a bunch of toothbrushes. Marianne Welch, who graduated UAMS in 1981, was helping organize a mission trip to Guatemala with her church and the group was collecting health care items.

She connected with Mitzi Efurd, Ed.D., chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene in the College of Health Professions. Efurd approached the dental hygiene students, who took up a collection that was able to purchase 504 toothbrushes.

“We talk about oral hygiene and community service throughout our program and our students were really happy to do something that would have a real impact on this mission trip,” said Mitzi Efurd, Ed.D., chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene in the College of Health Professions. “We sometimes take a toothbrush and toothpaste for granted when not everyone is fortunate to have access to even the most basic oral health care tools.”

Welch visited the students showing pictures from a previous trip and talking about how the mission trip — and the toothbrushes would help.

“I’m really impressed with their sense of mission and outreach,” Welch said. “It seems to be a hallmark of this generation — to have a more global view of humanity and need and is really, I think, a hopeful sign for our future.”

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