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Mercyhurst PA candidates conduct dental screenings

Monday, October 31, 2016

Eighteen physician assistant students at Mercyhurst University are putting their skills to work by performing dental health screenings for K-2 pupils in the Carpe Diem Academy, a Mercyhurst-sponsored after-school program in Erie’s Public Schools.

The Mercyhurst PA students will be at Lincoln Elementary School, 831 E. 31st, on Nov. 3, at 2:30 p.m. The effort is being led by Robin Duke, associate director of Mercyhurst’ s Department of Physician Assistant Studies, and clinical director Marcie Fitzgerald.

The department recently received a $500 grant from the nccPA Health Foundation, which allowed the program to purchase dental teaching models to educate children on proper brushing and flossing techniques as well provide them with toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Mercyhurst students worked with LECOM dental faculty and students to learn how to conduct the exams, which are noninvasive and seek primarily to identify early signs of tooth decay.

“There is a big push for family practice providers to engage in this kind of screening so that it becomes part of a normal well-child exam,” Fitzgerald said. “So, PAs are doing their part to support the oral health of their patients.”