Potsdam AIDS Education Group Holds Toothbrushes for Malawi Drive


The SUNY Potsdam AIDS Education Group (SUNY-PAEG) is holding its fifth bi-annual Toothbrushes for Malawi Drive again this fall, in coordination with the Malawi Project.

The Malawi Dental Project at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was created in 2004. It aims to educate Malawian school children about oral health and hygiene, as well as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and risks associated with the disease.

With a population of 10 to 14 million people and fewer than 10 dentists, Malawi has a serious problem with access to dental care. The Toothbrushes for Malawi Drive collects toothbrushes to give to Malawian residents as the group conducts free oral screenings.

PAEG has collaborated with the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry's Malawi Project since 2005. This year, the off-campus drive will occur on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at both the Potsdam Public Library and the Potsdam Kinney Drugs branch on Maple Street across from Clarkson University.

Due to the dental health issues affecting the Malawian population, only soft-bristled adult and pediatric toothbrushes, which are sealed and individually wrapped, as well as travel-sized tubes of toothpaste, can be sent.

SUNY-PAEG was created in 1988 by faculty, staff and students interested in promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and education and developing interventions to reduce the risk of infection. Since then, their activities have included networking and working with local, regional, national and international groups to achieve this goal.

For more information about the drives or about PAEG, please contact Patricia Whelehan, campus AIDS education coordinator in the SUNY Potsdam Department of Anthropology, at either whelehepe@potsdam.edu, or (315) 267-2048.

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.