Officials in the new dental clinic must keep an eye on funds to ensure its future.
For the past few years, dental care for Temple students has existed in the form of an answering machine.
“Dental care is available to Temple students,” the dental care page on the Student Health Services website reads. “To make an appointment for urgent care, call 215-707-3895 … identify yourself as a Temple student and leave a message for Dee if the voicemail comes on.”
The Temple News is grateful Dee will be relieved of her voicemail duties come July 1, 2011, when the Kornberg School of Dentistry opens its new dental clinic at the school, located at 3223 N. Broad St. between West Allegheny Avenue and West Westmoreland Street. A kink in the student dental care system at Temple – Dee never seemed to return any calls.
As reported in “Kornberg School to open community dental school” on Page 2, the clinic will be open to North Philadelphia residents and students. Although the dental clinic won’t be on Main Campus, it will remain accessible to students, who can take the Health Sciences Campus shuttle from 12th Street and Polett Walk to Broad and Ontario streets, just blocks from Kornberg.
Not only will this offer more immediate assistance to students whose dentists are located in their hometowns outside the city, but it will contribute to dental care for city residents.
A July 2010 report by the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out startling numbers: 132 million United States citizens don’t have dental insurance and “less than one-third of dentists in Pennsylvania and New Jersey participate in Medicaid.”
Although the health care act will change the number of U.S. citizens who can access health insurance, the act’s “effects on dental will be mixed,” the Inquirer reported.
The Kornberg clinic will not require patients to have dental insurance.
Despite positive effects the Kornberg clinic will have on students and the community, The Temple News encourages Dean Amid Ismail to keep a watchful eye on the clock.
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant is funding the clinic, but the $2.17 million allotted is only promised for five years.
In five years, the organizational success of the clinic will just be coming together. The clinic cannot rely solely on federal assistance, as the stimulus money will only persist for so long. Public health undergraduates considering the Master of Public Health program at Kornberg should brainstorm funding options now before a good thing is pulled from students’ and residents’ mouths.