Ostrow unveils world’s largest mobile dental clinic
08 Feb 16
A $3-million gift from the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation makes the clinic on wheels possible.
At 48 feet long —just five feet shy of a standard semi trailer — and 22 feet wide, it’s the largest mobile dental clinic in the world.
And this past weekend, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC celebrated the opening of the colossal clinic — the crown jewel in its mobile fleet — with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and walk-through tours at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, Calif.
“You know, standing here today, I can’t help but think how happy Charlie Goldstein would be to see how the program he started has flourished,” said Dr. Roseann Mulligan MS ’87, associate dean of community health programs and hospital affairs, referencing the late faculty member often called the “father of USC’s community dentistry.”
“Charlie often said the best thing you can do in life is to help others,” she said. “I hope to impart that wisdom to every one of my students, year after year, so that one day no one will have to suffer through dental pain simply because they cannot afford to see a dentist.”
More than 85 USC dental students attended the event, which commemorated the clinic’s opening at its first stop, where Ostrow faculty, staff and students provided dental treatment to 120 disadvantaged children.
“It is our hope that these community experiences engender in our students a lasting commitment to give back to the community,” said Avishai Sadan, dean of the dental school.
Other speakers included Marilyn Flynn, dean of the USC School of Social Work, and Catherine Hutto-Gordon, who represented the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation, the donating organization who made the colossal clinic possible with a $3 million gift.
“It is our hope that these community experiences engender in our students a lasting commitment to give back to the community.”
– Avishai Sadan, Dean, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
“Today, my dream has come to fruition,” Hutto-Gordon explained, “to combine social work and dentistry and share my family’s good fortune.” Hutto-Gordon is a social worker; her grandfather was a dentist.
Hutto-Gordon’s gift not only helped build the custom-made clinic and provide faculty endowments and student scholarships to community-minded individuals in both dentistry and social work, it also sets up a collaboration between the two schools to better provide health care and outreach services to disadvantaged children and their families.
After the ceremony, visitors toured the state-of-the-art clinic, which includes eight dental chairs, a separate X-ray room and a patient-calming system known as Synesthesia, in which soft music and vibrant imagery are used to soothe any frazzled dental nerves.
The mobile clinic is the eighth in Ostrow’s fleet. Outside of the military, Ostrow has the largest mobile dental clinic fleet in the nation.
USC’s mobile dentistry program began in the late 1960s when dental faculty, staff and students would drive out to remote areas in their own cars — packed full of dental tools and supplies — to provide care to migrant farm workers.
Each year, the Community Oral Health Programs provide more than $1 million in free dental care to underserved communities from Central California to the Mexican border.
Michael DeBourg II DDS ’22 overcomes personal loss, a chronic disease and the specter of low expectations to craft a fulfilling life. AFTER HIS FATHER PASSED AWAY in 2007 from pancreatic cancer, Michael DeBourg II went soul searching. The first in his immediate family to earn a high school degree, the then-21-year-old DeBourg had settled […]
First-generation college student Erika Correa DDS ’22 wants to use her career to help improve others’ lives. IT WAS A FABLED TRIP to the orthodontist to get braces that first sparked then-13-year-old Erika Correa’s interest in a dental career . “My new smile after my braces gave me confidence, which really changed my life for […]
ASPID student Artem Cheshkov has overcome a multitude of challenges on his path to graduation. CONSIDER ARTEM CHESHKOV’S DAILY SCHEDULE: After putting in a full day attending courses and working in the lab as part of Ostrow’s Advanced Standing Program for International Dentists (ASPID), he heads over to Bright Horizons Daycare to pick up his […]
Ostrow graduate Anna Adjei DDS ’22 says Commencement will be a family affair. NO MATTER HOW BUSY Ostrow student Anna Adjei DDS ’22 is, her mother and father are never far from her mind. In fact, with graduation day a stone’s throw away, the first-generation college student says, “This degree is for my parents. They […]