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New Penn Dental Care Center for Persons with Disabilities

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New Penn Dental Care Center for Persons with Disabilities

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New Penn Dental Care Center for Persons with Disabilities

caption: Alicia Risner-Baumancaption: Miriam RobbinsPenn Dental Medicine welcomed its first patients to the new Care Center for Persons with Disabilities in December 2020. A gift of $250,000 from Penn Dental Medicine board member Joan O’Shea helped to make the project possible. Dr. O’Shea, who founded The Spine Institute of Southern New Jersey, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in orthopedic spine surgery.

“Everyone deserves to have access to quality dental care,” said Dr. O’Shea. “I was particularly impressed by the innovative spirit that the Penn Dental team brought to this project.”

Located in the School’s Robert Schattner Center, the Personalized Care Suite is the clinical care portion of the new 3,500 square-foot  Care Center that provides preventive and interceptive oral health care for patients of all ages living with a physical or intellectual disability. Featuring 12 dental operatories, the suite is outfitted to comfortably treat patients in wheelchairs and on gurneys and includes a quiet room with low lighting and sound baffling for patients with sensory sensitivities. “We are thrilled that this new care center has opened, and that construction was able to proceed on schedule through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark S. Wolff, Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean.

Students at Penn Dental Medicine now have the added benefit of gaining training to handle the unique needs of patients with disabilities through direct experience on site.

“A key goal of the Center is to educate students as well as practicing clinicians, teachers, nurses, and caregivers on how preventive practices and teamwork can improve the quality of life for both people with disabilities and their families,” said Dean Wolff. “We will develop and report on best practices for serving this population and advance pedagogy for teaching the next generation of students to manage patients with a wide range of issues that limit their independence.”

The Center will be led by Director Miriam R. Robbins and Associate Director Alicia Risner-Bauman.

Dr. Robbins comes to Penn Dental Medicine from New York University Langone–Long Island (formerly known as NYU Winthrop Hospital) where, since 2015, she has been chair in the department of dental medicine. Since 2019, Dr. Robbins has also served as chair of the department of family dental medicine at NYU Long Island School of Medicine and as an attending surgeon in the department of plastic surgery at NYI Langone Medical Center.

Dr. Risner-Bauman brings a depth of clinical care experience in public health settings to Penn Dental Medicine, most recently serving as a General Dentist in the department of surgery of Binghamton General Hospital as well as Dental Clinic Supervisor of Broome Dental Center within the New York State (NYS) Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

The Center will be a hub for research with the Colgate-Palmolive Innovation Laboratory, which is embedded within the facility. Through the Innovation Laboratory, Colgate experts will work side by side with Penn Dental Medicine faculty and students to assess needs and develop and refine new products that facilitate optimal dental care for patients with disabilities.

The Care Center for Persons with Disabilities is a priority of the Power of Penn Dental Medicine Campaign, which is fueling its mission to create gateways to quality oral health for all through accessible dental care.

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