Symposium Examines Migrant Health Issues

Dr. Lisa Chung addresses symposium audience

Dr. Lisa Chung addresses the Global Oral Health Symposium audience.

Health issues plaguing uprooted populations were the focus of the School of Dentistry's eighth annual Global Oral Health Symposium, held May 7 on the Parnassus campus. "Health and Oral Health of Migrant, Refugee, and Immigrant Populations" examined a wide range of challenges faced people here and around the globe.

For the 8th consecutive year, the UCSF School of Dentistry examined a pressing global health topic during a half-day symposium featuring engaging speakers. This year's theme was "Health and Oral Health of Migrant, Refugee, and Immigrant Populations." The event was held May 7 at the Parnassus campus. For those unable to attend, video of the Symposium will be posted soon.

Dr. Fatima Karaki, founder of the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Initiative at UCSF, set the stage by describing three major refugee crises currently taking place in Myanmar, Syria and Yemen, and the many health challenges facing those displaced. Arvin Pal, third-year dental student at UCSF and outgoing student director of the UCSF Community Dental Clinic, discussed recent efforts to extend clinic services to immigrant populations. Dr. Irene Hilton, California Dental Association trustee, spoke of new funding opportunities for innovative oral health improvement projects throughout the state.

Dr. Lisa Gibbs, director of the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program at Australia's University of Melbourne, shared her insights and experiences designing and evaluating health and nutrition interventions for vulnerable children and families. Closer to home, Dr. Nancy Burke, professor of public health at the University of California, Merced, critically examined immigration as a social determinant of oral health.

The award for student achievement in global oral health was earned by the team of Dr. Jean Calvo (pediatric dentistry resident), Irene Ching (D4) and Jungsoo Kim (D3) for their work on a global oral health community partnership project. With guidance from their faculty mentor, Dr. George Taylor, the student team worked with the San Francisco Dental Society to evaluate a program that provided free dentures to San Francisco residents dealing with homelessness.

Opening remarks were given by Dr. Mark Kirkland, interim dean, and Dr. Benjamin Chaffee, Program in Global Oral Health director. The symposium was co-sponsored by the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies.

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