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Supporting Senior Smiles: Dental School Focuses on Senior Health Outreach in April

SCOPE event organizers and volunteers at the Senior Smiles Health Fair.

May  05, 2011

Older residents of Northern California have some new reasons to smile thanks to the volunteer efforts of dental school students, faculty and staff.

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry focused on the health and wellness of local seniors during several recent outreach events. In April, the dental school hosted its annual Senior Smiles Health Fair, offered free oral cancer screenings and organized an outreach booth at the national Aging in America Conference.

Good oral health is important at any age, but it's the senior population that often endures rampant oral disease and faces lack of care.

On April 30, the dental school hosted its annual Senior Smiles Health Fair. More than 170 Bay Area seniors visited the school to receive free health and wellness services including oral health screenings, blood glucose testing, cholesterol screenings and vision screenings, among other services.

Volunteers from the school's Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program, a student-run volunteer community service organization at the school, organized the event, along with the faculty director of community programs.

This year's fair was co-sponsored by California Pacific Medical Center's Community Health Resource Center. The San Francisco Examiner was the media sponsor.

The health fair's goals are to support seniors in the prevention of diseases and the early identification of a change in their health status.  Many seniors lack access to low- and no-cost health services. Events like this health fair provide an opportunity for seniors to learn about improving their health at no cost to them.

"I have great passion for the Senior Smiles event because I know many seniors have issues with access to care and lack dental insurance coverage," said Stacy Gulland, Senior Smiles event coordinator and Class of 2012. "This is a great chance for seniors in our area to come and have health screenings and counseling that they often desperately need."

"It's been very rewarding to provide Pacific Dugoni volunteer projects  focused on the health of  underserved  seniors this month," added Christine Miller, the school's director of community programs and SCOPE advisor. "We had a record number of attendees at Senior Smiles this year.   Our school's vision is to lead the improvement of health by advancing oral health. At Senior Smiles, by blending medical and oral health screenings for seniors, we are promoting complete health and wellness."

The dental school also recently participated as an exhibitor at the 2011 Aging in America National Conference held in San Francisco the week of April 26. Dental school staff volunteered at the school's booth and shared information about oral health, while offering details about the school's clinics and oral health resources for care-givers and others working with an older population. The conference, organized by the American Society on Aging, provided an opportunity for attendees to discuss the overall state of senior health and healthcare throughout the country.  

Earlier in April, the school offered free oral cancer screenings to seniors and other members of the Bay Area community.  On April 13 and 14, existing patients and the public were offered a free oral cancer screening and an opportunity to ask oral health questions.

To learn more about the dental services offered at the dental school,  contact the New Patient Screening Department at 415-400-8215.

Category Type: Special Events, Community Outreach

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