Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine celebrated the launch of its new PennSmiles mobile dental clinic with a ribbon cutting ceremony, held at the Henry C. Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia on October 25. Penn Dental Medicine faculty, staff, and students along with members of the community, and representatives of the School District of Philadelphia and Delta Dental of Pennsylvania, which funded the new bus, participated in the celebration.
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents the Third District, which covers much of West and Southwest Philadelphia served by the School’s PennSmiles program officially cut the ribbon, along with Penn Dental Medicine’s Dean Denis Kinane; Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief of Community Oral Health; Lea Elementary Principal ShaVon Savage; and Karen Robinson, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Delta Dental. Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the mobile clinic.
This new dental bus adds a second vehicle to the School’s PennSmiles program. Penn Dental Medicine has been partnering with the School District of Philadelphia to provide comprehensive dental care and oral health education to children in West and Southwest Philadelphia aboard the PennSmiles mobile dental clinic since 2003. Since its launch, the PennSmiles program has provided preventive dental care and treatment to more than 50,000 area children.
“PennSmiles is our flagship program in terms of bringing oral health education and dental care to the community,” says Dr. Gluch. “This new dental bus is ensuring continuity in care for the school children we serve.” Presently, PennSmiles serves children at 24 pre-school, elementary and middle public and charter schools neighboring the University of Pennsylvania.
The new state-of-the-art vehicle has been funded by a $650,000 grant from Delta Dental of Pennsylvania and its affiliates. The 40-foot bus features two dental chairs and is fully outfitted for comprehensive dental care, with electronic dental records and digital radiology capabilities.
“Delta Dental and PennSmiles have a shared goal of improving the oral health of Pennsylvania residents,” said Kenneth Yale, DDS, chief clinical officer for Delta Dental. “We’re pleased to help PennSmiles expand their community outreach with a new dental vehicle to help underrepresented communities become healthier.”
“When residents see the PennSmiles bus,” adds Dr. Gluch, “they see a tangible commitment from Penn Dental Medicine to improve the oral health of children in our community.”