Angel Dentist Network is Improving Oral Health in India

May 1, 2021

Andrew Goldbaum, Jeet Shah, Alexandra Rodrigues, Nicole Annan

The Angel Dentist Network in Mumbai is working to improve oral health in India where a significant proportion of the population has a high incidence of poor oral health.  Poor oral health does not only cause insufferable discomfort and pain, but it is often associated with the inability to eat or speak properly, ultimately diminishing the overall quality of life. More often than not, populations in underserved communities are disproportionately affected by poor oral health because they lack, or have inconsistent, access to much needed dental care services. 

Fortunately, the Angel Dentist Network (ADN) is there to mitigate this public health issue. ADN is a professional network of volunteer dentists and India’s first all dental non-governmental organization (based in Mumbai). Collaborating with various local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governmental entities throughout India to organize outreach camps programs that offer beneficiaries free dental services, ADN provides no-cost dental care services to their acutely affected populations. Their volunteers participate in multiple outreach camp programs — throughout the year — to educate, diagnose and treat hundreds of people in need. 

ADN currently has a network of 400-500+ volunteers with an average of 20-30 new volunteer registrations, monthly, during its most active seasons. Managing volunteer information and maintaining communication within this vast network is a major challenge. This year, in Using Mobile Technologies to Improve Health Outcomes, the JAAN Angels, a GH 806 student consultant team worked with ADN to create a mobile application to streamline volunteer management.

The team developed a CommCare app that provides a digital volunteer management tool for ADN’s new and current volunteers. The app streamlines ADN’s administrative capacity to the utilization of one digital platform that collects and registers volunteer demographics, displays updated information regarding upcoming outreach programs, provides access to training videos, and allows volunteers to provide post-camp experience feedback. Providing the administrative side with the data outputs they need to efficiently manage their volunteers will help ADN expand their capacity to increase their network and can reach more people in need. 

The JAAN Angels, (JAAN is a combination of the initials of team member names: Jeet, Andrew, Alexandra and Nicole), and interestingly enough, it so happens to be that JAAN means ‘Life’ in Hindi. 

Jeet Shah is an MPH candidate doing majors in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and is graduating in May 2021. He has completed his bachelors from India in Dental Surgery. With a background in biology and clinical research and an experience over 5 years in health background, Jeet is interested in using mHealth to improve community outreach and data collection methods.

Andrew Goldbaum is an MPH candidate studying Global Health. He is interested in working with businesses to innovate processes and policies that sustainably advance public health and drive economic development. Andrew is pursuing his MBA and MPH at Boston University and expects to graduate in January 2022.

Nicole Annan is a first year MPH candidate studying Global Health Program Design, Monitoring & Evaluation and Maternal & Child Health. She has a background in applied health and direct/administrative patient care in Allergy & Clinical Immunology and Family Medicine. She aspires to help marginalized mothers and babies (in LMICs), who suffer from the effects of malnutrition, due to food insecurity; and one day hopes to find a way to incorporate the utilization of mHealth technologies to improve their health outcomes.

Alexandra Rodrigues is an MPH candidate, studying Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, & Evaluation and Epidemiology & Biostatistics.  She has worked with a state health department as a care coordinator, and a global non-profit organization which works to improve access to education and clean drinking water.  She enjoys interacting with people and the global community and aspires to pursue a career abroad as an epidemiologist.