(Release: November 11, 2010) - 16 students in Hagerstown Community College’s dental assisting and paramedic emergency services programs recently participated in the Western Maryland Mission of Mercy (M.O.M.) event at the Alleghany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Md.
HCC faculty and students joined volunteers from the local tri-state area to provide free dental care and first aid services to low-income, uninsured, and underserved adults living in Alleghany County. According to the M.O.M. Web site, the need for oral health in Alleghany County is immense as it leads the state of Maryland in natural tooth loss. Conditions in nearby West Virginia are said to be even worse.
Student volunteers included Brandon Beall and Allison Flynn, both of Boonsboro; Lindy Witmer, of Frederick; Shelby Myers, of Greencastle, Pa.; Anna Banca, Kareen Christie, Traci Cornwell, Erin Haley, Sheidy Martinez, Martha Mendez; Dhruv Nakrani, Bobbie Jo Schenck, and Margi Shah, all of Hagerstown; Jennifer Yeakle, of Hancock; Sonya Day, of Mercersburg, Pa.; David “Matt” Johnson, of Middletown; Mary Raun, of Sharpsburg; and Chelsea Daniels, of Smithsburg.
HCC students were joined by Theresa Marks, HCC instructor, dental assisting and hygiene and program coordinator; Devin Buries, HCC instructor/program coordinator, EMS/paramedic; and Gary Williamson, a local Hagerstown dentist. Each student and faculty member donated more than eight hours of volunteer time at the site. According to Buries, the paramedic students volunteered their time as first-aid personnel and worked with standby EMTs to take care of minor injuries and medical complaints. The dental assisting students assisted area dentists with extractions, restoration, acute trauma care, and oral surgery. Both student teams also assisted with breakdown at the end of the event.
“For many of these students, this experience confirmed that this is what they want to do,” says Marks. “It was a long, hard day and everyone was exhausted by the end of it, but it was a great feeling to know that we were able to help people and to give back to the community. It’s important for students to realize just how many people in our area need access to dental care.”
M.O.M. events are held throughout the tri-state area and encourage professionals such as dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, paramedics, and other medical personnel to donate their time and efforts to help improve oral and health care of underserved populations. For more information about M.O.M., go to www.westernmdmom.com.
From left: Paramedic emergency services students Brandon Beall, Erin Haley, Bobbie Schenck, David “Matt” Johnson, and Mary Raun with HCC instructor Devin Buries.