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Dental School Collects Water for Flint

Ann Arbor, MI — February 1, 2016 — Staff, students and faculty at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry have teamed up with another unit on the U-M campus to help the people of Flint, Michigan, deal with their water contamination crisis.

In recent weeks, five organizations at the school have been collecting bottled water which will be delivered to the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center.  The center will then deliver the water to community groups in Flint.  The organizations at the School of Dentistry who have been proactive in the effort are the Multicultural Affairs Committee (MAC), the Staff Forum, Contracts and Grants, the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA), and the Student National Dental Association (SNDA).

“Each group was conducting its own bottled water drive, but we combined our individual efforts into a larger a school-wide initiative.  School of Dentistry donations are being united with those started by the Trotter Multicultural Center,” says Cheryl Quiney, co-chair of the school’s Multicultural Affairs Committee.

More than 1,000 gallons were collected.  “I’m excited that so many at the school came together to help the people of Flint.  What a great expression of caring,” Quiney adds. 

From Tuesday, Feb. 2, through Friday, Feb. 5, the Student National Dental Association (SNDA) will be accepting cash and credit card donations from noon until 1:00 p.m. in the Student Forum.  The donations will be given to the United Way of Genesee County on behalf of SNDA at the School of Dentistry.

One dental student involved in the effort, Guneet Kohli (D3), who represents the MAC, says that when she first heard about Flint’s water problems, “I was shocked.  Some of my best friends in the dental school are from the Flint area, as are a number of patients.”  She says since the school is well known for its commitment to service and communities, “it was unimaginable for us not to participate.  We are at the forefront in providing underserved communities with access to quality health care, we had to support our neighbors in Flint to help them get access to a basic commodity everyone deserves, clean water,” she says.

“I’m impressed with how so many here at the School of Dentistry have come together and responded to the water crisis in Flint,” says Dr. Todd Ester, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  “This is a vivid example of not only meeting a very real and human need, but it shows the world one of the school’s major core values – compassion.”