Hurleyville, NY—PRASAD Children’s Dental Program (PRASAD CDHP) is fortunate to have wonderful community partners.

One of our most successful relationships is with the Nursing Department of Sullivan County Community College. Since 2001, the nursing students have been teaching PRASAD CDHP’s Dental Health Education component to Sullivan County’s elementary schools and PRASAD has been providing the teaching materials and toothbrushes for all the children.

Nursing students, (l to r) Zoraida Castillo, Arun Raj, Diane Lynker, Clinical Instructor Nancy Fraley and students Erin Roberts, Dana Rinaldi, Erin Calkin, Amanda Parker and Noelle Rausch, took time out from schoolwork to talk about their experience.

The nurses read a children’s story of that first visit to the dentist, and use oversized props so children get hands-on lesson on how to brush properly. Dana said the children thoroughly enjoyed hearing the story, read from a giant book, and practicing with the huge toothbrush and giant teeth. It’s always a favorite part of the lesson.

Most importantly, every child gets a toothbrush.

Amanda was touched at how excited the children were to receive toothbrushes. Nancy Fraley has seen this too many times; many children do not have their own toothbrushes, because their families simply cannot afford them.

The nurses did notice that the children who were having their second dental class remembered quite a bit from last year and were eager to trot out the information. Those who are PRASAD CDHP patients were the best informed about dental health care. “The repetitive information seemed welcome; (the kids) didn’t mind the do-over,” said Noelle. “I loved it!” she added.

And, so did the children. “There were little hands popping up everywhere,” Diane said. She added, “We really need this program.”

In all, the partnership between PRASAD CDHP and SCCC reached 411 children at four locations in Fallsburg, Liberty, Monticello and Woodbourne, this year. “The teachers at all locations were very welcoming and supportive,” said Nancy Fraley.

In this rural and financially stressed county, collaborations like this add substantially to limited community resources. They create a synergy that benefits all participants and produce outcomes that are more positive. “We could not be more grateful to members of the SCCC Nursing Program for their valuable contribution to PRASAD CDHP’s efforts,” said Dr. Escarra, the Program Administrator.