Philadelphia — A recent gift from Wells Fargo Capital Finance is helping to advance Penn Dental Medicine’s outreach in the community through its PennSmiles program. This gift is the latest in a series of contributions from Wells Fargo to the PennSmiles program.
“It is important to emphasize the vital role ongoing donors play in ensuring the strength and growth of PennSmiles and our community outreach efforts,” says Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief and Professor of Clinical Community Oral Health.
PennSmiles is the School’s mobile dentistry program designed to provide dental services directly to children at their schools in West and Southwest Philadelphia. The PennSmiles mobile clinic — a 40-foot custom bus fully equipped with two dental chairs and equipment for comprehensive dental care — has been in operation since 2003. Since that time, PennSmiles has been strengthening the University-community connection, providing much-needed oral health care services to area children, while also offering valuable training and experience to Penn Dental Medicine students.
Through its extensive community outreach programs, Penn Dental Medicine requires each student to participate in community oral health activities as part of a four-year sequence of academically based service learning courses for a minimum of 82 hours of service activities before graduation. PennSmiles has become a critical piece of the community service requirement, with every third- and fourth-year student scheduled to work on the PennSmiles bus.
In fiscal year 2015, the PennSmiles van travelled 950 miles through 190 visits to 24 schools/sites, providing education, prevention and clinical dental care to 4,000 school children in West and Southwest Philadelphia.
“When residents see the PennSmiles vehicle, they see a tangible commitment from Penn Dental Medicine to improve the oral health of children in our community,” says Dr. Gluch. “And, we’re also proud that the program offers each of our students substantial experience in community oral health education, preventive dental services, and comprehensive dental care. It’s an invaluable asset to a well-rounded dental education.”
For more information or to support PennSmiles contact 215-898-3328.
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