Buffalo Outreach and Community Assistance (BOCA)
Buffalo Outreach and Community Assistance (BOCA) is a SDM organization developed and administered by dental students and dedicated to providing care to underserved areas. Dental students and faculty deliver much needed dental treatment to such locations as Appalachia, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam and as well as in the Buffalo area. Outreach events are organized and planned by dental students under the supervision of faculty, who accompany students during each mission as well.
Dental services performed by BOCA participants include oral examinations, periodontal scaling and oral prophylaxis, amalgam, glass ionomer and composite restorations, endodontic procedures and routine and surgical exodontia. Dental treatment of special needs patients, the vast majority of whom have not previously received any dental care, has been provided. Screening for hypertension, diabetes and pterygium, an eye disorder common in Central America, is routinely performed.
The participants of BOCA missions have had extremely positive experiences. One student stated it was an "unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience"I will always remember this mission for the rest of my life"It gave me much pleasure knowing that we helped a lot of people who could not afford dental treatment.", while another said "BOCA was ‘life changing'; opened my eyes to disadvantaged people and helped so many in only four days. Best experience while at dental school." and another commented "This whole experience gave me a new perspective on life" I'm sure we are all going to be better dentists because of this experience."
Through the combined efforts of its members, the U.B. Smile Team provides $6 million of donated oral health care annually. It serves as a model for other academic institutions in its coordination of activities to maximize the number of people served and in the sharing and efficient use of available resources.