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Clayton State alum provides dental care abroad

Special photo
Kristen Egerdahl (left), a Clayton State University graduate, who volunteered to help children in need of dental care, works on a patient at the temporary Global Dental Relief clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Special photo Kristen Egerdahl (left), a Clayton State University graduate, who volunteered to help children in need of dental care, works on a patient at the temporary Global Dental Relief clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal.

By Jeylin White

jwhite@news-daily.com

Recently, Kristen Egerdahl, a Clayton State University alumnus, embarked on a humanitarian journey, to help provide dental care to children in Kathmandu, Nepal.

"This is an unusual case to get this information on a student who graduated 15 years ago," said John Shiffert, Clayton State University's director of University Relations.

Egerdahl decided to volunteer her time with Global Dental Relief, a charitable organization that has brought dental care to improvised children in Nepal, northern India, Vietnam, and Guatemala, Shiffert said.

Since 2001, the charitable, care-giving organization has hosted more than 750 volunteers, and treated 57,000 children.

Egerdahl was one of 20 volunteers, who served for a week, in a converted classroom in Kathmandu. The volunteers received on-site training, and served more than 1,000 children, many of whom had never had any dental treatment before, Shiffert said.

Each child received an exam, cleanings, restorations and extractions. Egerdahl treated 100 children, herself, he added,

Although this may have been Egerdahl's first international volunteer experience, Shiffert said, "It's not uncommon for students to study abroad, or to do volunteer work, internationally."

He added that CSU offers many study-abroad opportunities for students, including a study-abroad program for nursing students, called "Jungle Health." The program, he said, provides medical services in Guatemala.

Shiffert said Elgerdahl graduated from Clayton State University in 1996, with an associates degree in dental hygiene. She currently works for Dr. Tommy Turkiewicz, at a dental practice in Peachtree City.

She is originally from Fulton County, but resides in Newnan, with her two sons, ages 16 and 13. In her spare time, he said, she also volunteers at the Fayette Care Clinic.