Penn Dental Medicine Builds Awareness of Care for Persons with Disabilities as Part of Penn Relays


Elisabeth Peebles (DH’59, center), founder of the Jon C. Burr Foundation, one of the race sponsors, and Dr. Joan Gluch (right), Chief of the Division of Community Oral Health, with the winning Special Olympics team of the 4×100 race.

Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine spotlighted its commitment to serving persons with disabilities as part of the 2023 Penn Relays – sharing in the sponsorship of four Special Olympics races at the event and building awareness of the oral healthcare needs of persons with disabilities. The PennSmiles mobile dental clinic was on site April 27, the first day of the three-day event, and the location from which students and faculty of the School’s Division of Community of Oral Health shared information with on oral health, nutrition, health careers, and the School’s Care Center for Persons with Disabilities.

“It was wonderful to celebrate the accomplishments of these amazing Special Olympics athletes, while also educating the attendees on oral health topics and the oral care services Penn Dental Medicine offers in the community, including our Center for Persons with Disabilities,” says Dr. Joan Gluch, Chief of the Division of Community Oral Health. “Access to oral healthcare remains a major issue for many individuals with disabilities.”

The four Special Olympics races included the Girls 100M Dash, the Boys 100M Dash, the 4×100, and the 4×100 Unified.  In addition to Penn Dental Medicine, these races were sponsored by Delta Dental, Benco Dental, and the Jon C. Burr Foundation.

This was the 127th running of the Penn Relays – the world’s first and most widely recognized annual track and field relay event. Each year, the Relays draw crowds of up to 100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Franklin Field.  The event features thousands of top high school, collegiate, Olympic development, and masters athletes. Nearly 200 colleges and universities participated this year, trekking from all over the country as well as the Caribbean to compete in the largest track and field competition in the United States.