Putting passion into action
Brandon Landreth ’11 has been able to design and implement weekly lessons on health, wellness and oral hygiene for elementary students in rural Greene County thanks to a fellowship.
Sarah Mulnick ’17
Brandon Landreth ’11 has always been passionate about service and public health. Last academic year, he was able to put that passion into action thanks to a fellowship at East Carolina University School of Dentistry, where he’s a dental student.
As part of his North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellow project, he designed and implemented weekly lessons on health, wellness and oral hygiene for elementary students in rural Greene County. The fellowship provides the means to develop a pipeline of emerging medical professionals who enter the workforce with the tools and commitment necessary to address unmet health needs in the community. The county has one of the densest Hispanic populations in the state, and Hispanic children are one of the highest risk demographics for cavities.
For a year, Landreth and another fellowship recipient worked in conjunction with a community dental clinic to recruit kindergarten through fifth grade students for a dental screening and sealants program. They also taught in schools (both in Spanish and English) and distributed 1,000 toothbrushes. “As I look back now and reflect on my fellowship year, it is quite rewarding to know that I helped teach over 1,100 children proper oral hygiene behaviors and how to make nutrition choices that are healthy,” he says.
The biology and statistics major added his experiences at Elon, both in and out of the classroom, helped him to prepare for the challenges and successes of this fellowship. While at Elon, Landreth was president of Epsilon Sigma Alpha service fraternity, a founding member of the Delta Upsilon chapter and worked closely with New Student and Transition Programs. “As a public health minor at Elon, the classes that I took were essential to understanding the challenges children in Greene County face when it comes to their oral health,” he says.
After graduating from Elon, he went on to earn his master’s degree in public health from ECU before beginning dental school. He is expected to graduate in 2017 and plans to go into practice as a general dentist while continuing to work with underserved populations. He is considered a Fellow for life, and will use the sustainable funds from the program to continue providing toothbrushes and oral health lessons to children in need.