Pace University’s PA students enthusiastically participated in this year’s National PA Week, Oct. 6–12.
We began by taking part in the PAs on the Plaza event in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza on Oct. 7. PAs and PA students gathered in their white coats and scrubs to appear on NBC’s “Today” show. This important annual event raises awareness of the PA profession and the need for PAs.
Our PA students took further initiative by giving oral health presentations to elementary school students at Growing Up Green Charter School in Queens, N.Y.
Oral health is a critical component of preventive medicine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, good oral health enhances our ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey our feelings and emotions through facial expressions.
But unfortunately, each year, millions of Americans experience pain and disability caused by oral diseases, which range from cavities to oral cancer.
Furthermore, tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children ages 2–5 and half of those ages 12–15. And about half of all children and two-thirds of adolescents from lower-income families have had decay.
The PA students taught the school children songs and used a giant toothbrush to review the steps of brushing teeth. They also provided them with toothpaste and toothbrushes.
At Pace, PA students stay well-informed of essential health issues, such as oral health, and learn how to address them in clinical practice. This outreach gave the students the opportunity to help raise awareness and educate young people on the importance of proper oral care. It was a success because of everyone’s great enthusiasm for the project.
In addition, Denise Rizzolo, PhD, PA-C, leader of PAs for Oral Health, helped obtain all of the supplies needed to host this event.
Pace PA students made PA Week 2014 an unforgettable one!
Karen Giraldo is a first-year student in the Pace University PA program.