IU student dentistry outreach clinic receives ADA Foundation award

  • March 17, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana University School of Dentistry Student Outreach Clinic on the near eastside of Indianapolis has received an award from the American Dental Association Foundation for excellence in providing services to underserved people.

The program was one of seven in the country to receive a Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award, valued at $5,000.

The IU School of Dentistry Student Outreach Clinic is one partner in a larger Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic where free, comprehensive health care services have been provided since 2008. The IU Student Outreach Clinic is in the Neighborhood Fellowship Church, 3102 E.10th St. Dental faculty and students provide their services at the nearby HealthNet People’s Health and Dental Center, 2340 E. 10th St., which has 11 chairs available.

In addition to dental students and faculty at the IU School of Dentistry clinic, student and faculty volunteers at the IU Student Outreach Clinic are from the IU School of Medicine, Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the University of Indianapolis Krannert School of Physical Therapy, the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, in partnership with Indiana Legal Services, and the IU School of Social Work.

About 27 dental students, along with two licensed faculty dentists, see patients at no charge at the clinic the first and third Saturday of every month, said Brian Rochford, a fourth-year dental student who is chair of the School of Dentistry clinic.

When the dental clinic opened in 2011 at People’s, Rochford immediately volunteered. “It was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to get involved. I wanted to give back to the community and use my skills as a health care professional.”

The IU Student Outreach Clinic is completely student organized and managed, utilizing student providers to treat patients under the supervision of licensed practitioners.

“People’s Health and Dental Center is being incredibly generous in providing clinic space,  supplies and two staff persons to help the students accomplish their goals,” said Dr. Karen Yoder, the dental school’s director of civic engagement and oral health policy.

Dental students had previously volunteered with the IU Student Outreach Clinic at the Neighborhood Fellowship Church. But without equipment needed to provide preventive and restorative services, their efforts had been limited to patient education only.

Today, however, the dental school Student Outreach Clinic provides free cleanings, fillings and extractions to about 20 patients every other Saturday. Those who are seen for treatment become patients of record with the HealthNet People’s Health and Dental Center and make the School of Dentistry clinic their dental home.

Richard Schneider