Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Dental Van

Last night, an interesting ad came up on Craigslist: an opening for the Oakland Dental Bus.

It's a nonprofit service created by a lawyer-turned-dentist in Arizona.
Originally, it was run out of his home.

Now, it's a national organization the provides dental care to needy kids in schools across America.

This is how it works:
The van goes to the school site.
Equipment, Xrays, chairs, portable ops are set up.
Patients are seen, treated, and (if needed) referred to get further care.

This sounds just like what I did in Cambodia, but in some ways better:
1. No airline ticket or antimalarials needed.
2. I can help the local community.
3. I get paid (not much) doing it.

It sounds like a lot of fun!

Visiting an orthodontist

I was tempted to do two posts, but I won't.

This is one of the times when I really wish that I had a better camera for dentistry.
At Dr. Vicki Wang's office, I was given a quick review on cases for interceptive dentistry.

Essentially, there are a cases that should be caught before they get really bad:
1. Open bites
2. Cross bites
3. Skeletal malocclusions

It's important, because the bone gets harder once a youth turns into an adult.
One that happens, it requires expensive, painful surgery to get it fixed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some bumps

Yesterday, I called Youth Uprising in a vain attempt to get plugged in.

I called in the morning and reached a live person.
When I mentioned that I was interested in volunteering, she immediately shunted me to an answering machine.

You may call me an elitist outsider, but I'm a bit miffed.

Regardless of race or profession, my policy is to try to treat everyone with equal respect.
I do this regardless of whether I'm speaking to world class researchers or janitors.
I'd expect the same thing from any group that I work with.

I may call these people again, but I'm hesitant to waste my time.
I really do feel like the youth of Oakland are not being provided resources that they need.
However, I'm a bit wary of what type of hoops I'll have to jump.

I'll be calling on Dr. Pamela Alston, community dentist and long-time philanthropist in Oakland.


I explored Stanford on Friday by Strida.

Most of the students (and staff) were out of school.
However, I still got some very good tips regarding helping out non-profits.

1. Securing partnerships with private industry.

From Leah at the School of Business I learned that one must "pitch" proposals to a company and outline:
  1. Gain: What will the company gain from helping you?
  2. Exposure: What publicity will they get? Are you touting their product/reputation, or adding it to a long list of "sponsors."
  3. Liability: Where is the event held. How liable will they be if some freak accident occurs?
  4. Goal: What is the goal of your project
  5. Cost: How much will it cost the company to help you? How much time and expense will be incurred.
2. Grassroots involvement.

Amanda (at the Haas center for social reform) recommended that I seek out a local grassroots organization to get an understanding of the true needs of the community as they perceive.

Otherwise, one risks the appearance of being an "elitist outsider."
She pointed me to Youth Uprising.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A really crazy idea

Yesterday, I was walking the streets of Oakland.
I marveled at the wasted potential of the crazy energy coursing the streets.

Well, I'd like to do something about it.

My goal is to provide something for Oakland youths to aim for: higher education, a decent salary, and a higher calling. I'd like to find the best and brightest, and pair them with a life-changing internship in some cool/prestigious institution. Also, I'd like to present them with an ipod.

Here's my crazy idea:
Have a contest with three categories: Academics, Performing arts, Static Art.
Each winner will get a trophy in the form of a customized ipod.
Additionally, the winner will get a fastrack to a valuable internship (which will hopefully pave the way to a great education and the career of their dreams).

This is all fairycake right now.
Before I talk to the schools, I'd like to assess what partners are available.
I'd like to gauge the interest and available partners they are willing to spare.
If I have to, I plan to buy the ipods out of pocket.

Tomorrow, I'm driving down to Stanford and Apple to learn about what's available.
If God permits, I'd also like to drop by IDEO as well.

Can't hurt to try right?

Thoughts on Oscar Grant

On Tuesday, I went to work to be surprised by the sight of a cardboard sign in the front window.
It had "We want Jutice!" scrawled in crayons in upper case letters.

All across Oakland, these signs adorn businesses...along with hastily erected plywood barriers, metal grilles, and police cars. It's a charm against looting, and a hope that windows will not be broken.

At the corner of 15th and Broadway, young African American men pass out posters demanding justice for Oscar Grant. They're decked in hoodies and camo pants.

While my condolences are with the young man's family, I think this is a big mess.
The police officer will be indited for manslaughter, not murder (no premeditated intent).
As a result, people will probably take to the streets.

As for me...I'm still coming in to take care of my patients.

First presentation

As a health care provider, I think that it's important to educate.

As per mom's suggestion, I'll be giving a talk to the neighborhood associate next Friday.
I've tentatively called it, "How to keep your smile."

In actuality, it'll be about keeping one's teeth for a very, very long time.

I'm a bit nervous.
I'm supposed to speak for a full hour.
My audience is ~50-60 years old, and I'm probably younger than most of their kids.
Also, the talk will be translated (thanks to mom).

Anyways, I've been preparing for the past week.
I'll be using some material from Bill Strupp, as well as the ADA, and Rose & Mealey.
I'll also have to find some way to make it fun.

Wish me luck!