Explore UAB

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Student Chapter was recently named national chapter of the year.

new student group receives awardL-R: Daniel Peterson, Dr. Toni Neumeier, Julia Pham, Jessica Sun, and Paul Kim

The award honors one AGD student chapter for the best overall set of programs and activities. Julia Pham, a third-year dental student and chapter president, accepted the award during a virtual ceremony.

“We were thrilled to find out that we received the Chapter of the Year Award,” said Pham. “It is a special honor since our group was still in its infancy two years ago, when I was a first-year dental student.” 

Alumnus Paul Kim, DMD, served as the chapter's president last year, while he was a fourth-year student. At the time, Pham was secretary. She credited Kim for his guidance and leadership that helped set the stage for the chapter's award-winning success.

Pham also said that faculty advisor Toni Neumeier, DMD, MAGD, helped foster chapter engagement stating, “Dr. Neumeier has always been our strongest advocate and has helped push us to achieve what we have.”

Newly-formed, the group had a unique opportunity to shape the chapter into what they envisioned and felt the community needed. They have already accomplished a variety of service activities, from helping build UAB-sponsored Habitat for Humanity houses to providing oral cancer screenings and oral health education to populations in need. In addition, they adopted the American Red Cross Blood Drive as an annual event.

new student group receives award2Oral cancer screening at the Mi Pueblo Supermarket's Health and Wellness Fair

Before COVID-19 affected activities last academic year, the chapter held three events where they, under faculty supervision, provided more than 175 participants with oral screenings and extraoral examinations. Their efforts were, in part, funded through a grant from the Academy of General Dentistry that helped purchase oral hygiene kits and portable dental chairs for the screening events. The activities allowed dental students to gain more experience in performing head, neck, and oral cancer screenings while providing valuable information and services to the underserved.

Pham said the chapter’s efforts have been well-received in the community, with numerous organizations requesting screening events. She also shared that the group has seen overwhelming enthusiasm and interest from dental students who want to participate in the chapter.

“This award helps remind us that we cannot let up,” Pham said. “Our members know the work that we do is important and are proud that we are part of the team who established this chapter to create a positive impact on our community.”

In addition to a certificate of recognition and acknowledgement on the AGD website, the chapter was awarded $1,000 to enhance its programming.

2020-2021 Executive Board

President - Julia Pham (D3)

Vice President - Ana Ospina (D3)

Secretary - Crystal Smith (D2)

Treasurer - Sara Lee (D3)

Community Outreach - Grey Jones (D3)

Fundraiser - Jessica Sun (D3)

Social Media Chair - Valerie Castro (D3)

Liaisons - Nicole Nguyen (D1), Toni Velcheta (D2), Celia Bonett (D3), Jacob Wolkow (D4)

Chapter Presidents

Bright Chang, 2016-2018, founding president

Yunhee Choi, 2018-2019

Paul Kim, 2019-2020

Julia Pham, 2020-2021

2019-2020 Chapter Activities (prior to COVID-19 limited activities)

Date: August 3, 2019

Event Name and Location: Tabernacle Baptist Church Oral Cancer Screening

Event Description: On August 3, the chapter provided oral hygiene screenings at the Tabernacle Baptist Church during their Fitness Fair. Members of the community were able to receive vision, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings, as well as health and nutritional education from several other local organizations. Our organization provided oral hygiene and oral cancer screenings for 70 individuals and provided people with free oral hygiene products. Participants ranged from children, young adults, seniors, and military veterans.

Attended: 70 individuals were screened

Date: October 23, 2019 and February 5, 2020

Event Name and Location: Well-Being Dental Screenings at the UAB Recreation Center in Room 190

Event Description: On October 23 and February 5, AGD participated in UAB Campus Recreation’s Well-Being Wednesday event. This was a free event for students to receive screenings for sexual health, vision, and oral health. We saw 38 individuals for oral screenings and provided hygiene information and free samples of oral hygiene aids in October and an additional 13 individuals in February.

Attended: 41 individuals were screened

Date: November 9, 2019

Event Name and Location: Health and Wellness Fair at the Mi Pueblo Supermarket

Event Description: On November 9, AGD participated in Mi Pueblo Supermarket’s Annual Health and Wellness Fair for the Hispanic community. The students assembled portable dental chairs for use at the screening event. This was an event for the Hispanic community to have medical checkups, HIV testing, as well as oral cancer screenings. We saw 65 individuals for oral screenings, gave oral hygiene education, and provided free oral hygiene products.

Attended: 65 individuals were screened