STEP FOUR – Get Involved in the Action

Volunteerism is a solid first step toward building your résumé and getting your name recognized by those who might open up careers in dental public health. Your local school district may host back to school screening days or community health fairs. The state dental association may offer a “Mission of Mercy” or “Give Kids a Smile” event. Your local dental hygienists’ association may have a group that volunteers for school presentations. Being active in these events can place you in a position to learn more about a permanent position.

ACTIVITY POINT: Do a search on your state’s dental or dental hygienists’ association to identify events in which you could volunteer. Identify the school nurse for your local elementary school and offer to do some classroom oral health education presentations.

There are other types of volunteer events that are more time consuming and costly. Mission trips are rewarding and can help you become acquainted with others who have the same passion for dental health. Also, be sure to consider there may be employment opportunities with these agencies that involve organizing and staffing such trips for health care professionals. Appendix D, Volunteer Mission Opportunities lists several websites for groups that specialize in arranging mission trips. The group known as Mercy Ships has volunteer and short-term paid positions which may be of interest.17-22

ACTIVITY POINT: Access the websites listed on Appendix D; Volunteer Mission Opportunities and identify a group that interests you.