ATSU Diversity & Inclusion recently held an open house at the St. Louis Dental Center for local educators and community leaders as part of its engagement initiative. This was an opportunity for attendees to learn more about ATSU’s Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health(ATSU-MOSDOH), its mission, and its outreach into the community.
The engagement initiative began as a collaboration between Felicia Pulliam, JD, and the Diversity and Inclusion’s Clinton Normore, MBA, associate vice president, and Stephanie McGrew, MA, coordinator. Pulliam is CEO of Create Community LLC in St.Louis, Missouri, which provides customized community engagement support to address complex issues. Pulliam helped facilitate relationships with ATSU and many community leaders in the St. Louis area, and she also coordinated a visit to Kirksville, Missouri, for a campus tour with attendees. Bernard Sammons, PhD, president and founder, Social Justice 4 All, was one of the tour attendees and now counts himself among ATSU advocates.
“Education is the gateway out of poverty,” said Dr. Sammons. “When I visited ATSU and saw the culture of the University, I thought what a beautiful model. It is not a typical medical school. If I can identify potential students who could make a good fit for ATSU, and transform the student’s life in the process, it’s a
Dr. Sammons attended the open house and briefly spoke on the importance of collaboration between ATSU and the community. Dwight McLeod, DDS, MS, dean, ATSU-MOSDOH, and Gary Cloud, PhD, vice president of university partnerships, ATSU, also spoke regarding the educational and clinical side of the St. Louis Dental Center and ATSU’s mission for serving underserved areas and partnering with community members.
During the event, McGrew unveiled the newly created classroom kits that will be distributed to select St. Louis area schools as part of the initiative. The kits were created to educate young people on the healthcare field and present the opportunity to interact with real tools of the trade. The kits include a history book of Dr. A.T. Still, skeletal and teeth models, a real stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, an anatomically correct heart model created by ATSU’s 3D printer in Kirksville, and educational brochures in both English and Spanish.
“We wanted to create something for students that had a lasting impression and was educational,” said McGrew. “This is a great way to attract kids at a younger age thinking about healthcare profession choices here in Missouri.”