Alumni hailing from Pennsylvania, surrounding states, across the country and around the globe watched as Kornberg School Dean Amid I. Ismail opened a time capsule that was closed by Dean Gerald Timmons exactly 50 years ago.
“Both our nation and the field of dentistry have seen remarkable advances in the past 150 years,” said Dean Ismail. “When our school first opened in 1863, Abraham Lincoln was President and dental anesthesia was non-existent. Today, Barack Obama is Commander-in-Chief and innovations in dentistry – many made right here at Temple – have made it so patients can undergo necessary procedures virtually pain-free."
In keeping with its commitment to the community, the dental school provided a free full-service dental clinic for its patients as an added element of the celebration. Staffed and managed by members of school faculty and student dentists, patients received free extractions, restorations (fillings) and cleanings. In the past year alone, the school has provided more than $1 million in charitable dental care.
“Our community deserves bright, healthy smiles and access to quality care,” said Dean Ismail. “That’s why we are investing in our community and in expanding our facilities so we can improve access to care for the underserved.”
With support from UnitedHealthcare and United Health Foundation, Temple’s Kornberg School of Dentistry recently launched Project ENGAGE, a $1.75 million initiative designed to improve children’s access to oral health care.
The program is available to North Philadelphia children under the age of 6 and their families who are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid plan. The goal is to eventually expand the initiative to other parts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and country.
As part of the 150th anniversary celebration, the school provided tours of its new and updated facilities for alumni and guests. Over the past five years, the school has invested more than $27 million toward expansion and renovations increasing its ability to service the community and provide the best learning experience for student dentists. The school’s expanded facility will provide high-quality, affordable care to approximately 30,000 patients per year, an increase in capacity of more than one-third.
Highlighting the rich history of dentistry, the Temple Dental Museum, located on the school’s third floor, displays a proud collection of dental antiquities. It includes the cornerstone of the original building; a 19th century Victorian dental office outfitted with period objects and furniture; a varied collection of photographs, posters, dental instruments and equipment, dental furniture and personal oral health care products; as well as the personal possessions of former dental school students, faculty and alumni.
Only a portion of the full collection is on display. The full artifact archive is cataloged into a searchable, online database of more than 4,000 pieces.
Founded in 1863, the school was among the first institutions to require dental students to adhere to strict graduation guidelines. Training was largely technical and focused on positioning dental care as an integral part of the patient’s overall health care. As dentistry has advanced in the past 150 years, the Kornberg School of Dentistry has made major contributions in innovation, patient-focused care and led the way in setting educational standards.