By Douglas Hackleman - July 7, 2016

With perhaps the event’s largest turnout to date, the 31st Loma Linda University Children’s Day entertained 1,444 youngsters from around the Inland Empire at a variety of engaging educational stations hosted on the University quadrangle by students, faculty, and staff from LLU’s various schools.

Youngsters practice low resolution imaging on their stuffed animals.

Jeri Fowler, RDAEF2, OA, assistant director, Alumni Affairs, organized and staffed the School of Dentistry’s booth with faculty members and residents from the Advanced Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, 46 Department of Dental Hygiene students and their faculty mentors Colleen Whitt, BS’79 (DH) MS, and Darlene Cheek, BS’71 (DH) MPH, and residents and staff from the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veteran’s Medical Center that included Jessica Sung, DMD; Stella Suba, RDA, CDA; Sarah Goodacre, DDS’15; Tina Wan, DDS; Hira Alam, DDS; and Justin Verdin, DDS’.

In his fireman’s hat, PNAM alumnus Noah Thronson works interprofessionally to x-ray his mother’s teeth.

Each Children’s Day guest had the opportunity to learn optimal tooth brushing technique from oral health care professionals by practicing on the mouths of a variety of stuffed animals and characters from well-known television shows and movies. Their participation was rewarded by a variety of oral hygiene freebies.

Jeri Fowler, AS (RDAEF), assistant director, Alumni Affairs, assists a possible LLUSD recruit.

Playing dentist, the children gowned and gloved to perform an oral exam of, and take x-rays on, their stuffed animals, simulating what to expect on their first visit to the dentist. Marie Worcester, dental records auditor for Clinic Administration, constructed cardboard x-ray unit replicas for this exercise. The children thoroughly enjoyed this pretending so much that many of them returned to repeat the process.

Dorian Montesinos, dental assistant, Pediatric Clinic, provides dental education to young acolytes.

Gary Kerstetter, DDS’82, director, Service Learning, organized a very popular venue with the children—the opportunity to tour the School of Dentistry’s mobile clinic parked adjacent to the University’s Good Samaritan sculpture and participate in hands-on examination in its operatories.

Prospective health care professional appears to believe in the germ theory as he struggles to gown up.

Pediatric dentistry residents and faculty who enriched the children’s experience included Jessica Machado, DMD, instructor; Linda Ngo, DDS (second year pediatric resident), instructor; Hanieh Hassani, DDS’15 (first year pediatric resident); Christine Kim, DDS (second year pediatric resident), instructor; Bonnie Nelson, DDS’88, chair; Wesley Okumura, DDS’94, assistant professor; and Jung-Wei Chen, DDS, MS, MS, PhD, director, Advanced Specialty Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry.

Young visitors to the School’s mobile clinic try one of its operatories.

School of Dentistry representatives provided a variety of oral hygiene gift to a continuous parade of children under the direction of Ms. Fowler, who enjoyed the assistance of Ashley Vasquez, administrative assistant, and Alfred Batiller, student IV, volunteers from Continuing Dental Education.

Jessica Machado, DMD, 1st year resident, Advanced Specialty Education Program in Pediatric Dentistry, gives a pediatric visitor some space to explore.

Dorothy Brooks, LLU Children’s Hospital representative, who coordinates the annual event, was “quite pleased” to have “a bigger number than last year and was grateful for “all that you [volunteers] did to make our 31st Children’s Day such a great day.”