Children Find Dental Home through Sayre Health Center, Keystone First Collaboration


Through a series of four service day events, the School teamed with Keystone First to provide care to children at Penn Dental at Sayre in West Philadelphia.

Philadelphia – Penn Dental at Sayre Health Center teamed with Keystone First, Pennsylvania’s largest Medicaid managed health care plan, to help children and young adults living in the Center’s West Philadelphia neighborhood find dental care. Through a series of four service day events – the latest held earlier this month – a total of 48 patients received care, 90% of whom have made follow-up appointments and are on the road to making Penn Dental at Sayre their permanent dental home.

“We were very pleased with the outcome — turnout rates were significantly higher than we anticipated,” says Dr. Shabnam Sedaghat, Clinical Associate in Penn Dental Medicine’s Division of Community Oral Health and Director at Penn Dental at Sayre. “We were able to provide much needed care on the service days and introduce those who came to the Center as a place for ongoing care.”

The Dr. Bernett L. Johnson, Jr. Sayre Health Center, run by Penn Medicine, is a full-service, Federally Qualified Health Care Center at the rear of Sayre High School at 59th and Walnut streets in Philadelphia. Penn Dental Medicine began providing dental care at the Center in 2011.

For the service day events, Keystone First targeted children and young adults (birth to 21 years of age) who live in the same zip code as the Sayre Health Center and who had not had a dental exam in over 18 months. Care was provided by Penn Dental Medicine students, along with Dr. Sedaghat and public health dental hygiene practitioners Donna Anderson and Lorena Garcia, who saw patients within the Center well as aboard the PennSmiles mobile dental care vehicle. Along with comprehensive exams, the treatment provided include cleanings, sealants, fillings, fluoride treatments.

Keystone First provided each child served with a book bag filled with school supplies and an oral health care kit and incentivized patient visits by providing two free movie tickets to each child treated.

“It was a huge success and we hope to do additional events in the future,” adds Dr. Sedaghat. “We helped the children receive the required exams they needed for school and got them on the path to regular care.” In addition to becoming patients at the Center, some of the children were also referred to the pediatric clinic at Penn Dental Medicine to receive care.

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