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Students, Faculty Provide Free Dental Services at Project Homeless Connect

A patient consults with Dugoni School volunteers at Project Homeless Connect.

December  15, 2009

Several times each year, students and faculty from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry give their time and talent to provide dental care for San Francisco's homeless through the city-supported event Project Homeless Connect (PHC). At the most recent PHC event on Dec. 9, students provided dental screenings, basic care and complex treatment to homeless individuals at no cost to the patients.

Thousands of people in need of health and human services lined up first thing in the morning outside of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium to take advantage of what PHC offers, including medical and dental care, mental health services, haircuts, employment and legal counseling and food, all provided via volunteers and donations. By the end of the day, dental school volunteers had screened more than 200 people and provided additional dental care to 80 of those screened.

For those needing complex care, such as extractions, shuttles brought patients to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry for on-site procedures. In total, 32 homeless patients were treated at the school's Emergency Clinic.

"Record-breaking cold temperatures led to the highest attendance we've seen at Project Homeless Connect since we began participating in the program," said Christine Miller, director of community programs and co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care. "Our student volunteers were able to see the value of PHC first hand, and were constantly rewarded by the great depth of gratitude shown by hugs and the relief in people's faces."

During PHC's events, participants are able to accomplish in one day what might normally take eight months. Numerous corporations, nonprofits, schools and government agencies provide PHC and its clients with services. In response to the changing needs of the homeless and low-income population, PHC has continued to reshape its outreach strategy and improve available services, recently hosting events specifically designed for veterans, families and children. According to the San Francisco Mayor's Office, 1,975 homeless people received assistance during the most recent PHC event.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry has participated in Project Homeless Connect events since 2007. The next scheduled PHC event is Feb. 24, 2010. To learn more about PHC, and to see a list of community partners involved in the program, visit http://www.projecthomelessconnect.com/home/partners .

Category Type: Community Outreach

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