Mobile dental clinic to assist with oral health care needs of homeless women

Dec. 11, 2009
More than 50 volunteer oral surgeons, dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants from throughout south Florida to serve more than 150 women.

MIAMI, Florida--When Drs. Keith Phillips and Irwin Becker of the Pankey Institute suggested the possibility of a free, two-day mobile dental clinic to address the unmet oral health care needs of homeless women served at the Lotus House Women's Shelter in Miami, staff jumped at the possibility.

Staff then scrambled to find a location suitable to house the makeshift clinic that will include more than 50 volunteer oral surgeons, dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants from throughout south Florida and serve more than 150 women from Lotus House.

The Margulies Art Warehouse stepped forward to host this clinic, giving new meaning to the "art of dentistry" as doctors, patients, and volunteers are treated to one of the most exciting contemporary art collections in the country while they work.

Patients will have a chance to contemplate the soft and colorful Hope Blossoms sculpture of New York artist Shinique Smith overhead or see the latest video installations at the Warehouse as dentists perform oral health care.

"We are humbled by the generous response of the Pankey Institute and deeply grateful the Warehouse has opened its doors for this special event serving the women of Lotus House. Everyone at the Pankey Institute has been so compassionate and caring," said Constance Collins Margulies, whose husband Martin, established the Warehouse in 1999.

"The many dentists, nurses, assistants and volunteers who have stepped forward to make this mobile clinic possible is truly heartwarming. Their compassionate response to our cries for help is a reminder that we are all one. There are sure to be smiles all around for this holiday miracle!" she added.

During the two-day clinic, Pankey Dental Access Days provides education, screening and comprehensive oral health care that is focused on preserving rather than removing teeth. Volunteer dentists, students of dentistry, allied health personnel and nonmedical volunteers will provide services.

Working in concert with the dental industry, the Pankey Institute secures equipment, supplies, and volunteer manpower. South Florida dentists, Dr. Ozzie Mayorall of Pinecrest, Dr. Becker, and Dr. Barry Segal of Aventura took the lead in organizing the December 2009 mobile clinic in Miami with the participation of Dr. Phillips of Winston-Salem, N.C. Dr. Phillips is the program's national director.

Lotus House health initiatives serving homeless women and children are made possible by the generous support of the Health Foundation of South Florida, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, and Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation.

For more information, go to Pankey Institute.

To read more about the Pankey Institute, go to Pankey Institute.

To comment on this subject, go to PennWell Dental Community site.