EWU seniors Anne A. and Jordyn R. perform an oral screening.

Dental Hygiene students from Eastern Washington University participated in the first Spokane city- and county-wide Veteran Stand Down by providing oral screenings and identifying resources for homeless and at-risk veterans in the community.

Stand Down is a military term meaning a relaxation of status of a military unit or operational posture. At home, Stand Down events are held in cities nationwide to provide supplies and services to homeless veterans, such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and VA Social Security benefits counseling. Merri Jones, EWU dental public health instructor and coordinator for the Department of Dental Hygiene, and five senior dental hygiene students participated in the Spokane event held Saturday, Jan. 25 at the West Central Community Center.

EWU senior Christina S. provides resources for a Stand Down participant.

Eastern students provided dental screenings, met one-on-one with veterans to assist in accessing dental services, and provided oral health products. “This Stand Down was an opportunity for our community to support our veterans and show Spokane’s gratitude in a very personal and tangible manner,” says Lisa Bilich, chair of the Dental Hygiene Department.

Bilich also says the event was made even more special when former EWU clinical dentist, Dr. Rob DesRoches and his two sons sang the national anthem with the color guard.

(From L-R) EWU dental hygiene seniors Anne A. and Sarah F., Dr. Rob DesRoches, alumni and former EWU clinical dentist, seniors Jordyn R. and Stephanie W.

The EWU Dental Hygiene Department would like to thank Dave Millet, director of the EWU Veterans Resource Center for connecting them to this event. They would also like to thank their community partners, Cathrene “Cat” Nichols, administrator of Spokane County/Eastern Washington Regional Veteran Services; Heather Drake, operations manager for Spokane County/Eastern Washington Regional Veteran Services; and Jennifer Martin, supportive services for Veteran Families.