Springfield School Health Outreach
Posted by Paul on 9/28/2012 4:24:00 PM
Today I ran down to Springfield to check out the Springfield Public Schools Dental Day at area elementary schools. What I discovered was a well oiled machine of screenings. The set up is a collaboration between SPS and GSDS. Jean Grabeel is over health services for the school and she connects with Jean Harmison, executive director of GSDS, to arrange a dental screening day.
The society picked this Friday and then past the list of @35 elementary schools around so dentists or hygienists could sign up for screenings. The school system provides the forms and keeps excellent records as kids move through the system or transfer schools. The school nurses were valuable allies as they arranged for how the kids would be seen and of course help with follow up.The screening is very basic and meant to identify only urgent needs. Of course, there's encouragement to keep seeing your regular dentist.
I was able to stop by Pittman Elementary where Dr. Josh Montgomery (upper left) was moving from class to class in the hallway and seeing students as they were sent to him. At Disney Elementary, Dr. Tara Cash was moved around the school as well to see a variety of kids. My first stop was at Wilder Elementary where Dr. Misty Shelton stayed put in the cafeteria and classes were dismissed to see her. The first photo shows her actually examining Dr. Montgomery's child (how do you think that went!) and the other photo shows the eager students awaiting their turn. My one other stop was to be at Field Elementary but Dr. Nail and the Drs. Buzbee brothers had already whipped through 400 kids in 70 minutes. Talk about good organization and help.
It was great to see our members volunteer their time and be on the community front line. You all know the value of education and prevention starting early. It was also good to see such a strong plan. I don't know how other component or communities go about doing health fairs but I would encourage you to talk to Jean at GSDS and figure out how you can create a similar synergy between school health systems, school nurses, and volunteer dentists. It's always easier to step into a well organized day. Good job GSDS!
A final note of curiosity was that several members offered "vouchers" to the school nurse so if they identified a severe need from someone who may not have the resources to see a dentist, they could tell the parent how to schedule with a dentist for free care. This puts the responsibility on the parent and protects the time of the volunteer dentist. Just another cool way our members serve others!
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