Penn Dental Medicine

Departments & Faculty

Department of Preventive & Restorative Sciences
Division of Community Oral Health

Vision & Mission Statement

Guided by the vision statement, “Optimum oral health for all in the West and Southwest Philadelphia communities served by faculty and students engaged in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and clinical skills,” faculty and staff of the Division of Community Oral Health engage in the following mission:

The School of Dental Medicine, through its Division of Community Oral Health, emphasizes local and global community health as a core competency and highlights the integration of oral health within general health care. The Division of Community Oral Health provides oral health education, screening, preventive and clinical dental services, and referrals in select West and Southwest Philadelphia schools and other community sites and provides supervised clinical experiences for students in community settings serving elderly and special needs patients. The Division is responsible for the education of predoctoral dental students, didactically and experientially, in health promotion, disease prevention, public health, practice management, geriatrics, and global health, via lecture, seminar, community field experiences, and clinical care, as well as overseeing the dual-degree DMD/MPH program. The Division of Community Oral Health is committed to the development of new knowledge in community and public health through scholarship and research activities, collaborating with multiple research partners in the community and the University.

Academically Based Service-Learning Programs

The Division of Community Oral Health established the School’s academically based service-learning programs in 2001, providing students and faculty with the framework to complete community-based activities as an essential, required component of academic course work. The service-learning programs express the School’s and University’s core commitment to engage and collaborate with the local community to improve qualty of life and represent a viable and sustainable solution to increase access to oral health care.

Penn Dental Medicine’s academically based service-learning program is based on a high level of collaboration between the University and community-based partners in West and Southwest Philadelphia, including:

  • the School District of Philadelphia (with students and faculty providing comprehensive dental care aboard the PennSmiles mobile dental van),
  • community-based dental care sites,
  • and interdisciplinary health care programs.

Research & Scholarship

The Division of Community Oral Health maintains a robust profile of scholarship and research activities related to community and public health. Among current projects and awards:

Community/Public Health Training Grant: Awarded in 2010 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the grant provides $2 million over five years in support of community and public health training programs within the School. Funds will 1) evaluate and expand community-based experiences for all second-year dental students 2) develop and staff a dental clinic within Sayre Health Center, a primary care health center in West Philadelphia, which will serve as a site for dental student clinical experiences 3) expand support of the honors degree program in community health and of students in the dual-degree Master of Public Health/DMD program. A comprehensive program evaluation will be developed, examining process and outcome variables, including program operation, the impact on students and community members, and student perceptions regarding public health practice.

Other research projects: Outcomes-based research on PennSmiles school-based sealant and dental care programs, as well as health services research on children treated in hospital settings.

Contact Us

Division of Community Oral Health
Evans Building, Third Floor East
Phone: 215-898-4971
Fax: 215-573-9606


Division Chief

Full-Time Faculty

Part-Time Faculty

  • Robert J. Collins, DMD, MPH

    Clinical Professor of Community Oral Health

  • Mana Mozaffarian, DMD

    Clinical Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry

  • Ellen M. Witsch, RDH, PHDHP

    Clinical Associate
    Division of Community Oral Health

Additional Staff

The Robert Schattner Center
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6030