USC faculty, dental students provide free dental care to low-income high school students
The week-long dental clinic kicked off this past weekend with a community event and VIP tours.
BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14
More than 100 Taft Union High School students will receive much-needed dental care, thanks to a partnership between the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, the California Resources Corporation and the California Teachers Association.
The week-long mobile dental clinic will take place from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1 and provide deep cleanings, restorations, extractions, pulpotomies and root canals to the students most in need of intervention.
In October 2018, USC conducted a thorough dental screening of 700 Taft Union High students, finding that 9.5 percent were in need of immediate care. Another nearly 50 percent had visible signs of dental caries.
The high school is located in Central California’s Kern County, one of the Golden State’s poorest counties, with 20 to 25 percent of its population living below the federal poverty line.
“Providing treatment to underserved populations is one of the most powerful ways that dental professionals can help bridge the gap to dental healthcare, which is why community outreach has long been one of the basic tenets of an Ostrow education,” Dean Avishai Sadan said.
This is the second year of a three-year partnership between Ostrow; the California Resources Group, which is an oil and natural gas company; and the California Teachers Association, a California’s teachers’ union.
“A child should not have to go to school in pain and be expected to reach their full educational potential,” said Sanaz Fereshteh, USC Mobile Clinic Director. “I have spent the past 10 years working on children in dire need for dental care, and it has led me to this incredible mobile clinic that brings the solution to the child.”
The clinic kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 26 with a special community event and VIP tour of the three specially equipped dental vans. Attending VIPs included CRC President and CEO Todd Stevens, Ostrow’s Associate Dean of Community Health Programs and Hospital Affairs Roseann Mulligan and Kern County Education Association’s Darlene Boyce-Gonzalez and Sabrina Runnels.