November 7, 2019
Pan-Asian Student Dental Association (PASDA) student members, Dr. Bin Yang, and Dr. Judy Yuan volunteered their time at a recent Chinatown Community Health Fair—an interdisciplinary event that involved UIC dental, medical, and pharmacy schools, Northwestern and UIC assistants/translators, and the Illinois College of Optometry.
PASDA served over 100 people at the health fair. The participants ranged from late 20s to late 80s, but most participants were 60 to 80 years old.
Dental students provided oral hygiene instructions and free dental supplies, while Drs. Yang and Yuan helped with educating health fair participants on dentures and implant overdentures.
“As dental students, the opportunity to work with other health professional students and doctors, such as those from the UIC medical and pharmacy schools and the Illinois College of Optometry, allows us to learn from different professions and the importance of inter-professionalism,” said Linda Ruan, DMD candidate and PASDA member.
This year’s event attracted 12 volunteers, which was a combination of students and faculty. This year, Dr. Bin Yang and Dr. Judy Yuan volunteered their time to educate participants about dentures and implant overdentures. Volunteers also included dental students Austin Buen-Gharib, Kaitlyn Ha, Megan Lao, Timmy Ng, Wanda Nguyen, Ellie Park, Rodolfo Rodriguez, Linda Ruan, and Yiran Xu.
Each year, UIC medical school's Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) organization invites PASDA to participate in the Chinatown Health Fair. PASDA chose to serve at the Fair because this event has been helping an underserved community. The Chinatown community has a population of individuals that experiences certain challenges that lead to limited knowledge of dental care.
“We thought that this opportunity was ideal for our members to share knowledge of dental care, as well as to provide pamphlets and information about dental resources, to participants,” said Ellie Park, DMD candidate and PASDA member.
PASDA takes a collaborative approach by engaging with other Chicago area medical schools to round out not only the volunteer experience, but also to offer a wider range of care to patients.
Serving at the Chinatown Community Health Fair has been a commitment of PASDA for the last four years.
The Chinatown Health Fair is just one of the various service events that PASDA members are involved with each year. PASDA plans to participate in upcoming community health fairs, including Theresa Mah’s Annual Community Health Fair and the Argyle community health fair.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to join interdisciplinary efforts aimed at helping underserved populations,” said Ruan.
The mission of the Pan-Asian Student Dental Association (PASDA) is to educate and provide oral care to under-served and/or immigrant populations throughout the Chicago area, as well as to create a platform for dental students to engage in inter-professional care with other health disciplines.
The UIC chapter of PASDA is attracting many dental students to their cause. PASDA is also attracting an online following through their new Facebook page (@UICPASDA) where students and other followers can get updates and learn about their upcoming events.