PA, public health students host free health event for Harnett County children

A Harnett County child receives a free dental screening at the Give Kids a Smile event.
BUIES CREEK — Students from the Campbell University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences’ physician assistant and public health programs teamed up over the weekend to offer Give Kids a Smile, a free dental clinic for Harnett County children who do not have dental insurance.
The two programs, along with volunteers from the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine and the Harnett County Department of Health, worked alongside each other to provide free dental examinations, cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, general health screenings, and information sessions on the importance of oral hygiene. Throughout the day-long event, students and volunteers were able to provide dental check-ups, cleanings, and sealants to 50 children.
Give Kids a Smile is part of an ongoing practicum for students matriculating through the dual degree physician assistant and public health program. The dual degree curriculum requires the completion of a practicum so students can apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world experiences. Events like this one demonstrate the importance of interprofessionalism and how the public health field addresses a multitude of health disparities in a community.
“This event was great for many reasons,” said Julia Niemi, dual degree candidate and Give Kids a Smile event coordinator. “It shows how important and how successful it can be for a variety of health care professionals to work together, and it helped us learn how to create a fun health care experience for children. Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for some children, so we had to present it in a way that was fun and comfortable for the kids.”