“From the earliest work of Dr. Charlie Goldstein and his vision of public health dentistry in Los Angeles, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry’s unrelenting commitment to the homeless is one of this university’s shining stars,” Michael R. Cousineau, DPH, professor of clinical preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in his address at the Ostrow School’s 118th commencement ceremony.
“Its commitment is unique among dental schools. It inspires me and I hope it inspires you to find some way to help in the solution of these problems.”
An expert in public health, Cousineau wrote a groundbreaking report that challenged service providers to coordinate efforts on Skid Row to maximize health care resources for the area’s thousands of homeless residents. The report inspired the Ostrow School to expand clinics for homeless populations on Skid Row in the early 2000s.
In his address to the new dental professionals, he shared how they can impact underserved populations throughout their careers as well.
“I hope that dental professionals see their role in public health and that each of you see every dental visit as a public health visit,” Cousineau said. “A window into the lives not only of your patients, but in communities where they live and work.”
At the May 11 ceremony, the Ostrow School conferred 177 doctor of dental surgery degrees, 37 bachelor of dental hygiene degrees and 51 advanced specialty certificates. Another 24 students received master’s degrees and two earned doctor of philosophy degrees.
— Yasmine Pezeshkpour