We are pleased to announce that Sylvette Ramos-Díaz, MPH is a second-year Doctor of Dental Surgery candidate was announced as a Hispanic Lifestyle 2022 Latina of Influence. Our entire 2022 Latinas of Influence listing can be found, @ https://bit.ly/3rp7OyG
Sylvette Ramos-Díaz, MPH is a second-year Doctor of Dental Surgery candidate at the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry. She was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a child of U.S. military personnel, she also lived in Texas, Virginia, South Dakota and she and her family currently live in North Carolina. Having a parent in the military exposed her to the world of health disparities and many diverse cultures, which shaped her into the well-rounded, culturally competent bilingual provider she is today.
Upon completion of her Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and another in Biology from North Carolina Central University, she went on to obtain her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Global Health. She enjoys learning about better ways to address social determinants of health in historically excluded and marginalized communities.
Before starting dental school and while she was completing her master’s as a full-time student, she worked as a full-time dental assistant in general dentistry, in endodontics, and finally in orofacial pain, which is the newest specialty in dentistry. Even with her busy schedule, Sylvette managed to continue her passion for serving the community. She volunteered at countless free dental clinics across the state and even managed to create two detailed community resource guides for the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina for Durham and Wake Counties.
As a dental student, she has embraced her passion for public health and volunteerism. She co-founded the Hispanic Oral health Prevention & Education (H.O.P.E.) Program, which she obtained funding for through the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. This is a program that teaches a highly vulnerable, Spanish-speaking population in Siler City, North Carolina the importance of proper oral hygiene routines in their native language. This program has been implemented at the Vidas de Esperanza Dental Clinic and has allowed for patients to be triaged faster and more efficiently while also exposing them to oral health education and preventive treatments to improve overall health outcomes. Her program has received national recognition; the American Dental Association gave H.O.P.E. a shout out in their New Dentist Weekly Huddle, the Chatham News + Record published a story on H.O.P.E. in both English and Spanish, and Sylvette also became the first dental student to be published in the inaugural, bilingual and peer-reviewed scientific Journal of the Hispanic Dental Association (JHDA) after submitting a perspective commentary article on the H.O.P.E. Program.
You can find her volunteering every Wednesday night at the UNC Dental Student Health Alliance Coalition (SHAC) Clinic. When she is not studying or volunteering at free dental clinics, she enjoys teaching Zumba Fitness, working as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor, and serving as a medical interpreter to help improve health outcomes in her Latinx community.