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Seal Mobile takes a road trip
Dr. Stephen Crane, assistant professor of public health sciences, and two third-year dental students traveled 1,080 miles round-trip Thanksgiving week to bring the Seal Mobile to elementary students in the remote southwest Texas town of Sanderson.
Students Karina Mendoza, a native of Sanderson, and Trevor Harrison provided sealants to 30 students at Sanderson Elementary School, nearly half of the student population. Crane hopes to return to the town soon to treat middle school and high school students.
“I remember one day mentioning to Dr. Crane that he should take the Seal Mobile to Sanderson, and to my surprise he actually agreed,” says Mendoza.
Located in Big Bend country and known as the cactus capital of Texas, Sanderson is miles away from the nearest dentist.
“Growing up there, I learned to not take anything for granted,” Mendoza says. “We usually have to drive up to three hours to get to any dental or medical specialist, so bringing the dental care home not only helped the children but also helped all the families by saving them a trip.”
Throughout the year, the Seal Mobile makes stops at Dallas-area schools participating in the Dallas County Sealant Initiative, in which fourth-year dental students place sealants on second-grade students’ permanent molars and assess their oral health needs. Many of these students have never seen a dentist.
“The whole reason I went into health care was to be able to give back to my community,” Mendoza says. “Dr. Crane will probably never know just how much it meant to help me do that.”