Our committee of the month for March is our Spring Community Outreach team! Officers Jena List and Lindsay Maxwell planned and organized the annual Project Homeless Connect event. This is an annual day of services held at downtown Boutwell Auditorium with one goal: help the homeless and near-homeless improve their situation and achieve sufficiency. ASDA was one of over 60 agencies offering housing services, medical and dental services, identification services, veterans' services, employment services, pet care, haircuts, etc. Overall, 179 patients were seen, 300 hygiene bags were distributed, and 20 lesions were diagnosed!
At the event, Kai was introduced to the national vice president of ASDA who, seeing Kai’s enthusiasm for dentistry, highly recommended that he attend ASDA’s National Leadership conference. “A group of us from UCF was able to get funding to attend NLC and I’m so glad that we did. I was so amazed by the concept of organized dentistry and found it to be a great networking experience.” Kai especially liked learning about things you do not necessarily get to learn in dental school like the business aspect of dentistry.
Kai was hooked on ASDA after his experience at NLC. His first position at the national level was as the pre-dental consultant on the council of membership and he has held a district cabinet position every year since then. “I’ve continued to be involved with the district national level along with my local chapter throughout my time in dental school.”
When asked about his favorite part of ASDA, Kai’s answer is clear; “Networking. The networking opportunities with ASDA are endless. When you go to a conference, you get to meet hundreds of other people from all over the country and learn about their dental school. It just makes the importance of organized dentistry that much clearer.”
Kai’s favorite memory of ASDA goes way back to his very first National Leadership conference. It was an experience Kai will cherish forever. The dental students there were overwhelmingly welcoming and eager to help him achieve his dream of getting into dental school. “I was surrounded by students and leaders that inspired me to be like them and to not give up on my dream. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Many of the students at UAB often wonder how Kai is able to balance schoolwork and being able to travel to all the ASDA conferences. His ability to go across the country for an entire week and still keep up his schoolwork baffles the mind of even the most avid procrastinator. For Kai, it’s all about staying ahead of schedule and keeping on top of things. “School always comes first,” says Kai. “At the end of the day ASDA is an extracurricular activity but it’s my passion so I’ve learned how to make it work.” Kai says it is also incredibly important to stay in contact with the faculty and request days off as far in advance as possible. “The faculty want you to attend events like this so they are often very supportive of me attending them.”
If you are interested in becoming more involved with ASDA at the national level like Kai, this is his advice for you: “Surround yourself with likeminded people and seek out mentorship. Don’t be afraid to reach out to district national leaders and express your interest in becoming more involved.” Clearly, ASDA has had an extremely large impact on Kai’s career in dentistry. So next time you get one of those emails asking if you want to attend a conference, consider giving it a try!
Author: Kelsey Gwin, Class of 2021
Happy Wellness Wednesday! It’s a busy time in the semester for many students, but it is important to remember to take breaks and find a little time to relax. D1s Keira Le Yang and Mackenzie Kidd love to de-stress by spending time with their pets! Keira enjoys hiking with her Siberian Husky, Tofu, after a long week of exams. One of their favorite places to visit is Red Mountain Park! Mackenzie enjoys the constant company and energy of her favorite study buddy, Josie. Josie enjoys going to the park, snuggling, and learning new tricks!
Have you ever considered a pet while in dental school? Pets help promote both physical and emotional wellbeing. Studies suggest that those who with pets engage more frequently in physical activity than those without animal companions. Other great benefits of pet ownership include increased focus and attention, reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced problem-solving skills, and reduced blood pressure, depression, and risk of heart attack or stroke.
Before you decide to get a pet, be absolutely certain that you’re ready to fully commit. Owning a dog during dental school is a huge time commitment, but it is completely manageable if you make it a priority. Keira and Mackenzie cannot imagine life without their furry friends! To learn more about pet adoption, consider volunteering at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society where you can help with walking, bathing, socializing, and training dogs.
Author: Olivia Sorrell, Class of 2021