Dr. Asma Muzaffar (’11), Alex Rodriguez, and DentCare

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez donated $250,000 to help launch the University’s DentCare program, which provides dental education and care to children in Head Start programs, public schools and day care centers in New York City. On July 23, he attended the unveiling of the College of Dental Medicine’s new mobile dental van, which will serve the Washington Heights community and surrounding areas. Check out page 8 of:

http://news.columbia.edu/files_columbianews/imce_shared/vol3501.pdf#

Pictured from left to right: Dolores Rivera, dental assistant; Elizabeth Rijo, dental hygienist; Decenia Pimentel, dental hygienist; Dr. Asma Muzaffar; Rodriguez; and Duhanna Grullon, dental assistant.

Our very own Dr. Muzzafar (’11) had this to say about her work with DentCare:

“In 2000, a report of the Surgeon General noted that tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Tooth decay is almost completely preventable, and the pain, dysfunction–or, on extremely rare occasions, death–caused by dental disease can
be avoided.

In 2007, a twelve-year-old boy named Deamonte Driver died from an untreated tooth abscess that traveled to his  brain.  Deamonte couldn’t find a dentist who would provide a basic  procedure that would have cost $80 and saved his life. Instead, a  total of $250,000 was spent on hospital care and emergency  procedures that failed to save him.

As a provider for Community Dentcare, I work to keep these terrible  scenarios from happening. At Community Dentcare, dental care is provided to everyone irrespective of their insurance status or ability to pay. We visit schools, and we make sure that every child who has a parental consent form gets dental care. This often includes children from broken homes and shelters, as well as undocumented immigrants fearful of signing up with Medicaid.

I personally provide care for the children seen by the Mobile dental center. A study done in 1995 -1997 (Northern Manhattan  Survey)  and published in the American Journal of Pediatric Dentistry  revealed that the percentage of untreated decay in the population  served by the mobile dental center was 93.28% higher than the US national population at that time. Last year the  mobile dental center  provided dental services to approximately 3000 children in  Washington Heights, Harlem and some areas in Bronx. The center  focuses on providing dental care for children unable to access  dental services.

This Halloween while providing dental care we also did a skit for the children. I dressed up as  princess dentist snow white with a basket of fruits, water and milk. While the dental  assistant dressed up as candy witch with rotten teeth (since she  preferred soda over water, and candy over vegetables and fruits), the dental hygienist dressed up as rock star who sang songs about brushing twice a day for two minutes.”

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