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Dental student recalls years of commitment to IU Student Outreach Clinic

Mar. 6, 2014

Founded by students at the IU School of Medicine, the IU Student Outreach Clinic, or IU-SOC, doesn't just make an important difference in Indianapolis neighborhoods, it also gives students from across IUPUI's life sciences schools a place to grow skills that they will use throughout their careers.

Brian Rochford

Brian Rochford is vice chair of the IU Student Outreach Clinic.

For Brian Rochford, who serves as vice-chair of the IU-SOC and has been the chair of the student-managed and faculty-mentored dental school portion of the clinic since 2011, the clinic is both a source of pride and path to a budding career in dentistry.

“Work with the IU-SOC has given more meaning to my time at the School of Dentistry,” said Rochford, who feels strongly that the clinic is a big part of why the IU School of Dentistry has made such a mark on the community.

"I believe that the clinic is what sets the IUSD apart from other dental schools," he added. "Ours is one of only a few (free student-run clinics) of its kind in the country. We are lucky to have the opportunity to serve at the IU-SOC."

In January, the dental portion of the clinic earned recognition in a Student Community Leadership Award for its outstanding service to an underserved population, making the IU School of Dentistry one of six schools in the country whose clinical work was honored by the American Dental Association Foundation.

The honor joins another earned by the clinic in October when faculty, staff and students from the IU School of Medicine visited the Indiana Statehouse, including Janice Farlow, medicine chair of the IU-SOC, and Ryan Kammeyer, Jordan Bradford and Jason White, also IUSM students, accepted a Governor’s Exemplary Service Learning Award on behalf of the clinic.

Located on the near eastside of Indianapolis, the IU-SOC has been able to operate through the generosity of HealthNet People’s Health and Dental Center. Other individuals who participate in the IU-SOC include students from the schools of pharmacy, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and law.

As an IUSD Albert Schweitzer Fellow, Rochford focused his 200-hour service project on designing and implementing a program at the clinic for dentistry students to help area residents obtain dental work -- specifically dentures and partial dentures -- to improve their employability. He helped raise more than $100,000 in grants to enable the clinic to provide free services for adults with low incomes and no health insurance.

Managing the dental clinic is a big job, but the fourth-year dentistry student believes the importance of the clinic's mission makes every moment spent at the clinic over the past four years worth it.

An Indianapolis native, Rochford will move this summer to Denver, Colo., for a graduate residency program in orthodontics that will take about 30 months, after which plans to return to Indianapolis to practice. His background also includes undergraduate work at Butler University and professional training at IUPUI.

Shaping the future of Indianapolis is a big reason to be part of the IU-SOC, he added.

“Students in my generation realize that we are blessed to be in professional school and know we have a duty to give back to the community,” he said. “We also realize how much we can learn from giving back to the community, especially to those who truly need our help.”

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