USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

The Geriatric Care Advocate

Photo by John Skalicky

Lisa Hou ’08, DDS ’12, MS ’17 

BY JAMIE WETHERBE MA ’04

“I love geriatric dentistry, and there really is a growing need for this [service],” Lisa Hou says. 

As the director of USC’s Mobile Dental Clinic at Hollenbeck Palms, a nonprofit retirement community, Hou provides specialized care for elderly patients and prepares the next generation of dental professionals to treat this growing, and often underserved, population. 

Last year, Hou helped expand the clinic’s space and services by launching a mobile dental clinic, complete with three chairs and a lift to accommodate wheelchairs.  

“[The mobile clinic] allows us to increase the number of procedures we are able to do and show the students,” Hou says. “So they are exposed to a variety of geriatric patients, and the types of patients they will see in private practice.”

As part of USC’s curriculum, students rotate through the clinic, providing certain treatments bedside, as well as everything from check-ups to multiple restorations and crown preps inside the mobile clinic. 

Students also receive unique hands-on training while working with a range of complex conditions and medications. 

“You can’t just focus on the dentistry; there’s a whole body attached to that mouth,” she says. “It’s about knowing your patient and how to quickly review an entire medical chart and grab the information you need.”

The students’ time in the clinic is a learning experience in more ways than one. “They see how difficult it can be for older adults to access care and how having the mobile clinic right there makes such a difference,” she says.

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This story originally appeared in the TroDent, the official publication for the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Read more stories like this in our Spring 2018 issue.

 

Posted May 2018