Community Partners- The Jonathan Taft Honorary Society
The Jonathan Taft Honorary Society hosted its first Taft clinic of the 2012-2013 school year on October 27th under the leadership of co-presidents Mariya Volvovsky and Dmitry Vodopyanov. Dr. Jonathan Taft, the first Dean of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1875, who retired as Dean in 1903, promoted the dental profession and inspired those entering it. Wishing to advance his ideals, the Jonathan Taft Honorary Dental Society was formed in 1965, and manifests these ideals by fostering dental education and scholarship, engaging in various public service activities, encouraging cooperation between faculty and students, and initiating the future dentist into his or her role and responsibility in the community.
The Taft clinics are held three times a year on Saturday mornings and are successful completely due to the volunteering students and faculty. The faculty volunteer their time to suggest treatment options and oversee the free dental care the students provide for the patients. The students are able to provide care to patients who are in need and are usually unable to get the care otherwise. The students benefit from these clinics, as it is an opportunity for extra clinical experience in a more relaxed atmosphere than a normal weekday clinic. One student exclaimed “You can always count me in for Taft. I love it. I always get to do stuff for the first time here. I did my first restoration here. Now, I’ve done my first class II restoration here. It’s great experience.”
The patients are recruited by various means for each clinic. For this past clinic, the patients were recruited from Washtenaw Community College, Alpha House, and existing patients from the school. Screenings were done ahead of time at WCC and Alpha House to assess the needs of the patients and to assure that they qualify for the Taft clinic. At the clinics, we are able to provide care that can be started and finished at the one appointment—exams, x-rays, prophys, sealants, and composite and amalgam restorations. Many patients benefit from this care who haven’t seen a dentist in a while and have not had a check up they need. The patients leave grateful and many ask how they can become patients of the school to continue with comprehensive treatment. Such responses always leave the student volunteers with a sense of accomplishment!
All volunteers are at the school for just a few short hours as the clinic runs from 9-12. And, everyone gets to indulge in free breakfast that is mostly donated from the very generous companies: Barry Bagels, Washtenaw Dairy, and Starbucks. The Taft society has worked closely with these stores for years and is grateful for the donations they’ve made to keep the volunteers satiated! Overall, it was a rewarding and productive Saturday morning at the dental school for all!
Mariya Volvosky, D3, is the Co-President of the Taft Honorary Dental Society and was one of the students featured in Kevin Kuo’s hit Tao Cruz parody, “Composite.” She’s got some pretty sweet moves.