Temple opens new dental clinic in North Philadelphia elementary school
Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry and the School District of Philadelphia celebrate the opening of a pediatric dental clinic in North Philadelphia.
Temple University has a long-standing history of providing a variety of programs, events and initiatives to support and uplift our North Philadelphia neighborhood. This story is one example of many that illustrates the work we do in our community.
Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry has opened a dental clinic at the William D. Kelley School, an elementary school near Temple’s campus in North Philadelphia.
The pediatric clinic funded by Temple University features four fully equipped dental stations, including a space specially designed to serve children with autism and other disabilities.
“We will use this platform to bring oral health education into classrooms,” Amid I. Ismail, dean of the Kornberg School of Dentistry, said during a ribbon cutting ceremony held on March 1.
“There is no limit to how we can work to improve and promote oral health. We hope that in two or three years the children of this school will no longer experience tooth decay. When they come to school we will examine them in our preventive program, and we will educate their parents about what to do at home,” Ismail continued.
The clinic is staffed by Kornberg School of Dentistry faculty, staff and students.
William D. Kelley School Principal Crystal Edwards highlighted the importance of students having access to dental care. As a child, she had to wait six months for a tooth extraction because her mother couldn’t afford the procedure.
“Here there will be no waiting,” Edwards says of the clinic housed on the school’s third floor. “They will be seen and they will have preventative care.”
The facility, which was five years in the making, was formed as a partnership between Temple and the School District of Philadelphia.
“This is certainly a great example of what can happen when a university partners with a school district to create life changing opportunities and outcomes for young people,” School District Superintendent Tony B. Watlington Sr. said.
The program is open to public school students in kindergarten through eighth grades from North Philadelphia regardless of their insurance status.
“We hope that this dental clinic becomes another vital student and family resource that promotes not only good dental health but good general health and well-being,” said Philadelphia Board of Education President Reginald L. Streater.
Aissia Richardson, deputy chief of staff to Sen. Sharif Street, said the school-based clinic also shows children that they can be a dentist someday.
“It’s going to take care of their health,” she said. “It’s going to take care of their education, but it also gives them an opportunity to see themselves in the future. Having something placed in an area where people don’t see a lot of healthcare providers is critical to making sure that we have healthcare providers in the future.”
- Ayana Jones