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OMS students honored

Student BBQThe Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery faculty honored their summer volunteer dental students on Aug. 14 with the department’s 10th annual cookout. The volunteer students provided emergency care for patients with acute problems during the college’s five-week summer break. More than 25 students and their families enjoyed the cookout, hosted at the home of Dr. Marianela Gonzalez, undergraduate surgical education director.

The cookout is an annual tradition started in 1998 by Dr. Roger Alexander, former undergraduate surgical education director and current adjunct professor. Alexander attended this year’s event to help with the preparations and greet the students, who gave up their discretionary time over the break to work in the emergency clinic.

“This event has gotten bigger and better every year, and it’s our way of showing the students how much we appreciate their dedication and compassion in providing this essential service to HSC-BCD patients in their time of need,” says Dr. David Grogan, department chair.

The students also benefit from their volunteerism because the summer session gives them additional opportunities to hone their basic science knowledge and surgical skills, above and beyond the regular curriculum. This pays off; in past years, many volunteer students have completed much of their fourth-year surgical requirements a year early.

The Cooks“It’s not about giving extra credit to students who like surgery and want to enhance their surgical knowledge and experiences in school; it’s about meeting a critical need to provide care to suffering patients during a time when most of our students are away from the campus,” says Gonzalez. “But we like to let our volunteers know how much we appreciate their help, in a tangible way.”

Students, faculty and families enjoyed grilled steaks, chicken and sausages at the cookout. Dale Lewis, clinic coordinator of the department’s professional services office, recruited friend and private catering chef Philip McClenny to help with the food preparations. McClenny prepared, for the first time at the cookout, a chocolate fountain for dipping fruits and cakes. Department members said the spectacular food raised the bar for future cookouts and expressed thanks to Lewis and McClenny for their hard work.