Timeline & Focus
From January 16 to 30, NYUSD’s doctors and researchers will be providing continuous dental public health assessment, which would involve visits to schools throughout the tri-island state. While from January 24 to 30, the practitioners would be administering free dental treatment to the local population at the Tivoli Dental Clinic in the north eastern part of the country. Free transportation would be provided to patients, especially children, from distant locations.
Described by many as the most comprehensive national dental care assessment and treatment program ever undertaken in a Caribbean country, this project is being hosted by the Government of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. According to Grenada’s Minister of Health, Hon. Ann Peters and NYUSD’s Program Coordinator Rachel Hill, this project will also be executed as a component of “the new Primary Health Care Program,” a collaborative initiative of Grenada’s Ministries of Health and Education. The cost of housing and ground transportation for the NYUSD team is being covered by the Government of Grenada.
The two-week project, which is the first installment of NYUSD’s initial four-year commitment to Grenada, is part of the university’s Global Dental Student Outreach Program, which is mainly sponsored by Henry Schein Cares (HSC), the social responsibility arm of Henry Schein’s global dental, medical and veterinary supply corporation, explained Dr. Stuart Hirsch, Project Director.
Approach & Scope
With a team of approximately 50 doctors, world-renowned public health specialists and researchers, NYUSD’s goal is to create a sustainable oral health model for Grenada by working with the existing infrastructure, incorporating preventive measures nationwide, and providing a complete menu of dental services. “Primarily, in addition to the comprehensive nationwide assessment, we will deliver general care to children, and as needed, emergency care, such as root canals, filings and extractions to adults,” added Hirsch.
“We will be using a modified World Health Organization (WHO) Basic Oral Health Survey pathfinder methodology,” explained NYUSD’s Dr. Mark Wolff, who will oversee the assessment surveys. “With the prerequisite approval and permission to examine each child obtained, we will be using a painless examination method, which would consist of a traditional visual-tactile – using a mirror and explorer,” added Wolff.
In addition to the above objectives, the project will provide parent education about the importance of oral hygiene, age-appropriate instruction for patients, and ask schools to implement a daily tooth-brushing program in classrooms. The clinical outreach will bring much needed dental services to St. Andrew and eventually expand to other parishes, as a team from NYUCD will return to provide care on a yearly basis, ideally in a new area each time.
Additionally, professional continuing dental education and in-service training will be provided by the NYU team in an effort to upgrade the quality of dental services to Grenada’s citizens.
In addition to field work by public health specialists from NYU, the project scope includes a Children’s Fair in Tivoli, which will be held on January 24 and a career lecture to aspiring dental students and allied health professionals at the T.A. Marryshow Community College in St. Georges.
Grenada is currently the only beneficiary of this program with a service agenda that encompasses comprehensive nationwide public health assessment. Other countries and states that have benefited from this program include Jamaica, Nicaragua, India, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Tanzania, Alaska and up-state New York, USA.
Assisting with non-governmental coordination of the project is a New York based non-profit organization, Concerned Grenadians of New York Inc. (CGNY). One of the leaders of this organization, Gracelyn Harris, a manager at NYU’s School of Dentistry, was responsible for getting the director of the university’s international outreach programs interested in taking this project to Grenada.
The New York-based Coordinators and Independent Facilitators (Harris, Gerry Hopkins, Lawrence Thomas, Michael Vincent and Jerry Edwin) from CGNY, have organized broad private and non-governmental support for the project.
Critical financial support for CGNY’s coordinating efforts was provided by Grenadian-born international corporate executive, Earle Brathwaite through his family foundation PETNA. Brathwaite is the son of Grenada’s former Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite. Additional local support came from L.L. Ramdhanny & Co., Andall & Associates, George F. Huggins Pharmacy, Rhum Rhunner, LIME, Excel Plaza, and Waggety.
Planned activities include visits to the fishing village of Gouyave, Grand Etang Lake, and other points of interest in the tri-island nation, as well as a Rhum Rhunner Cruise and a Cultural Farewell Party. The latter will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To ensure that the NYUSD dental project in Grenada remains sustainable and continues to impact dental care in Grenada throughout the life of the project, the program’s main sponsor, Henry Schein, has gone beyond his standard institutional support for NYU’s dental school, in response to GCNY’s advocacy, especially through the negotiations of Jerry Edwin, Esq. Accordingly, the corporation’s philanthropic division, Henry Schein’s Cares, has agreed to donate every year over US$10,000 worth of dental supplies to be distributed to Grenada’s public school students through GCNY.
Every year until 2014, a team from NYU will return to conduct additional testing and treatment in Grenada and will make follow-up visits to assess the project’s impact in conjunction with the government of Grenada and local dental professionals.
The Outreach Program has received full support from the Grenada Dental Association, which is headed by Dr. Julie Dubois, D.D.S.