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Dental Hope for Homeless: Students, Faculty Provide Dentures, Other Services

February  24, 2010

A recent collaboration between the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and Project Homeless Connect (PHC) has made a difference in the health of numerous underserved local residents.

Through a pilot project running from late 2009 through February 2010, the dental school provided partial or full dentures for 10 clients of PHC in San Francisco. Volunteer prosthodontic specialists paired with school department members to demonstrate treatment procedures live and on video. The treatments were then repeated by the student team members on PHC patients. During the course of 20 patient treatment experiences, 160 dental students were involved in providing dentures to PHC clients.

"The PHC patients were very tolerant of multiple procedures and, through their positive attitude, encourage the students' learning attempts," said Dr. Peter Hansen, chair of the Removable Prosthodontics Department. "Each patient received two sets of dentures as a result of working with both a morning and afternoon group of students and faculty."

This cooperative effort has proven to be a win-win for the community as it maximizes the volunteer efforts of PHC and the talent of dental school faculty overseeing the project.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry has been participating in Project Homeless Connect events in the community since 2007, including its most recent event on Feb. 24, 2010. Throughout the day, students and faculty screened clients and sent those needing immediate care to designated dental clinics, including Pacific's own emergency clinic.

The dental school's outstanding dedication to PHC was acknowledged by Judith Klain, director of Project Homeless Connect, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"I thank University of the Pacific for its long-standing commitment to the people of San Francisco, particularly the most vulnerable," said Newsom. "There's nothing more extraordinary than seeing someone come back here a few weeks or months [after treatment who] couldn't even smile, could barely eat before."

"We see that smile on their face because of the work and contribution of UOP," he added. "Thank you to all of you making that contribution."


Category Type: Community Outreach

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu