Community service a way of life for Dr. Brown

by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public relations | April 22, 2011

Community service runs thick in Dr. David Brown's blood.

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David Brown, Ph.D., addresses nursing students from our CON Lincoln Division before they assisted with the recent Children's Dental Day event in Lincoln. Dr. Brown will be honored with the UNMC Spirit of Community Service Award at next week's annual faculty meeting.
From the time he was a child, Dr. Brown watched his parents take underprivileged children from the poorer sections of Hamilton, in Ontario, Canada, to a summer camp near his hometown.

His parents' involvement in the yearly camp became as routine as going to school each fall for the Brown household.

"It was just a part of everyday life," said Dr. Brown, a professor of oral biology and executive associate dean at the UNMC College of Dentistry.

Passion to help travels with Dr. Brown

He brought his passion for giving back when he came to the college in 1982 and has made the outreach events the dental school holds the best part of his job.

For his commitment, compassion and generosity, Dr. Brown will receive the 2011 UNMC Spirit of Community Service Award at next week's Annual Faculty Meeting.

Service leads to excellence

College of Dentistry Dean John Reinhardt, D.D.S., described Dr. Brown as an exemplary leader and tireless worker in the development of the dental school's outreach and community service activities.

"He has the vision to connect community oral health needs with our students' educational needs, and then develop programs that provide exceptional education and service simultaneously," Dr. Reinhardt said.

"Those activities have risen to the level of regional and national recognition for excellence."

Significant efforts

Twice a year the College of Dentistry helps hundreds of Nebraska children obtain access to much needed dental care through the annual Children's Dental Day events held in Lincoln and four panhandle communities.

Since the program began in 2001 the college has provided more than $2 million in dental care to 4,375 kids.

Three years ago the college began offering services to homeless and underserved residents in and around Lincoln through the Dental SHARING Clinic.

An evening clinic held four times a year at the college, this clinic has provided more than $300,000 in care to more than 800 patients.

A leader for the state

As a result of these activities, Dr. Brown has become a point person for agencies across Nebraska and is regularly contacted for advice about how needy patients can access low cost dental care.

"It's been fun," Dr. Brown said. "Being able to provide a service that really means something to people has been the best part of my job."

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