Buffalo Outreach and Community Assistance (BOCA)

UB Dental BOCA is a student-led organization dedicated to promoting dental education, providing free dental care and improving the quality of life for people around the world. Our members include dental school students, faculty and staff.

On this page:

The word BOCA, which means “mouth” in Spanish, signifies our dedication to oral health care, as well as our goal of advocating for more universal access to dental care worldwide. 

Making a Difference

We support communities by participating in health fairs and dental screening programs, as well as volunteering at non-dental outreach events. Our goal is to address both the oral healthcare needs and the socioeconomic needs of the communities we serve.

For dental missions, we strive to provide the dental care most needed by a particular community, including:

  • Dental screenings
  • Surgical extractions
  • Restorative dental work
  • Dental hygiene
  • Sealants
  • Oral health education
  • Assisting those who need to identify a permanent dental home

We have provided the equivalent of nearly $4,000,000 in free dental work.

Providing Opportunities for Dental Students

While the most important beneficiaries of our dental work are the patients, the dental students who attend these missions are also rewarded. In addition to gaining insight into lives that are often less privileged than their own, students have the opportunity to do extraordinary amounts of dental work; depending on the trip, the average student performs between 30-60 extractions and up to 25 restorations in a week.

Types of Outreach Programs

We focus on those areas of Buffalo — and the world — that lack adequate access to care.

Local Outreach (Buffalo-Niagara)

Our volunteer work includes:

  • Making mouthguards for athletes
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen
  • Educating people about oral health
  • Playing BINGO at assisted living facilities
  • Collecting school supplies for children in Haiti
  • Screening Amish children for cavities 
Boca Sana Cuerpo Sano

This outreach program — the only program currently serving the at-risk Buffalo Hispanic population — helps address oral health needs, promote oral health and provide screenings.

National Outreach

UB Dental BOCA offers domestic outreach programs in partnership with Remote Area Medical (RAM). Groups of approximately 20 dental students, accompanied by School of Dental Medicine faculty members, provide donated dental care to underserved communities within the United States. The majority of our outreach programs with RAM take place in Tennessee and Kentucky, and are typically a weekend experience.

Global Outreach

Over the years we have led outreach programs in the Dominican Republic, Senegal, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Tonga and Vietnam.

UB Dental BOCA organizes several outreach programs in various international locations every year, typically for a one-week duration over spring or summer break. These programs offer our dental students and faculty members the opportunity to provide much-needed care, while experiencing new cultures.

Our international outreach is supported in part by Henry Schein.

Watch a Slideshow of a Past Outreach Trip

Video about our global outreach

Contact UB Dental BOCA

UB Dental BOCA Student Officers

Title Name
President Marc Salme
President-Elect  
Treasurer Kathleen Gonzales
Treasurer-Elect Gregg Riess
Fundraising Chairs  
Secretary  
Webmaster  

UB Dental BOCA Advisors

Stephen Abel

Associate Professor; Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Community and Professional Initiatives; Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Department of Periodontics and Endodontics

250 Squire Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2836

Email: sabel2@buffalo.edu

Joseph Gambacorta, DDS

Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs

325G Squire Hall, Buffalo, NY 14214-8006

Phone: (716) 829-2821

Email: jeg9@buffalo.edu

Matt Blum

Director of Student & Community Initiatives

Office of Student Affairs / Admissions

315 Squire Hall, South Campus

Phone: (716) 829-6425

Email: mhblum@buffalo.edu