Penn Dental bus visits Patterson Summer Camp
Under the sensitive direction of Dr. Catherine Kuo, DDS, MBA, several dozen Southwest youngsters received free dental care in the state-of-the-art Dental Medicine “PennSmiles” mobile clinic on July 11. The new 40-foot, high-tech bus was stationed outside Patterson Elementary’ summer camp at 70th Street and Buist Avenue, July 11 to provide treatment young campers and other resident children.
Aisha, a rising 7th grader at Middle Years Academy, waited patiently for her turn. “I’m just back for another X-ray after my exam yesterday,” she advised. “They have also taken care of my sister and two brothers this week.”
“Our program of outreach to children is comprehensive and year-around,” noted Karoline Genung, RDH, a public health dental hygienist. “We focus on the city schools during the school year, and on camps and homeless shelters during the summer.” Oral health problems are one of the top reasons why children in Philadelphia miss school.
“The advantage of the mobile clinic is that parents don’t have to take time out of their workday to transport the kids and wait around for the treatment to take place,” Genung added. “When our thorough examination reveals dental problems which can’t be handled properly in the mobile clinic, paperwork is sent back to parents so that youngsters can be treated at locations like the Penn Dental facility at the Sayer Health Center at 5800 Walnut Street.”
In its announcement of the new PennSmiles mobile clinic back in 2017, Penn Dental highlighted its partnership with the School District of Philadelphia which then included visits to 24 schools. Particular emphasis is on schools where children depend on Medicaid or CHIP insurance. According to Dr. Joan Gluch, RDH, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Policies, the PennSmiles program hoped to expand dental health care coverage to about 5,000 children annually, the bulletin mentioned. The outreach also helps dental students get to know their patients as people.
The summer camp at Patterson is directed by staff from Southwest Community Development Corp.