Open wide: College launches new dental clinic
Sanford-Brown College Clinical Instructor Katherine Barnum (right) of Arlington Heights works with student Marcia Meadors (left) of Chicago in the new Dental Hygiene Clinic, which opened this week. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
SANFORD-BROWN DENTAL HYGIENE CLINIC
Where: Sanford-Brown College, 4930 Oakton St.
When: Grand opening: last week. The clinic was scheduled to open for business Feb. 18.
Services: Assessments, patient education, radiographs, cleanings, sealants and fluoride treatments.
Information: For information and appointments, call (847) 983-1253.
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:11AM
SKOKIE — For Sanford-Brown College’s dental hygiene students and for the community they’re soon to serve, Feb. 12 was a day about which to smile.
The school’s new dental hygiene clinic is all about smiling – making smiles brighter and whiter, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
“Win-win” is an overused cliche to be sure, but it’s hard to describe this week’s opening of the new dental hygiene clinic in any other way; students will receive hands-on experience in a state-of-the-art clinic, and the community will gain an option for free dental care.
Sanford-Brown educators said the creation of a dental hygiene clinic was always to be part of the program.
“With the growing need for preventative oral care and the flexibility a career in dental hygiene may provide, the dental hygiene program is an incredible opportunity to pursue a career in the dental field,” Dr. Shirley Beaver said about a year ago, when the new program was first announced. “Our goal is to build a foundation that will help students pursue opportunities with the knowledge and clinical experience they need to succeed.”
Beaver last week said that when she was hired to lead the program, it was always under the concept of creating a dental hygiene clinic so students could offer care to the community.
That concept became reality at last week’s grand opening when the new dental hygiene clinic was shown off for the first time.
The clinic includes 15 stations allowing more than half of the class to work on patients at once. Educators said there is about $1 million in equipment at the new dental hygiene clinic, a benefit to both the students and the patients they’ll see.
All of those students were on hand last week to celebrate the clinic, which they have been looking forward to since the start of their academic training.
“We’ve been working so hard to get to this point,” said Angie Abdin, president of Sanford-Brown College’s dental hygiene class of 2013. “There is no way we could get this kind of learning if we didn’t have the clinic.”
“The hands-on experience is so important,” echoed student Liz Raya, of Chicago.
Student Blanca Kacouris, of Chicago, also appreciated the opportunity the students now all have.
“Without this kind of practice, we couldn’t be prepared to work in dental offices,” she said.
That may be why nearly 30 students, all wearing their purple dental hygiene uniforms last week, could be seen smiling throughout the celebration. Their excitement was palpable as they listened to speakers and walked through the new clinic.
“You students are going to see these people in the community and make a difference in their lives,” said Skokie dentist Susan Becker Doroshow, secretary of the Chicago Dental Society.
Doroshow made one of the most impassioned speeches of the day when she told students that their career is about so much more than fixing teeth. These students will help people in ways that they probably don’t even realize, she said.
“You won’t see the hole in their heart that you fixed,” she told students before calling the clinic “a place where magic can happen.”
That may sound a little hyperbolic, unless you know the need that exists in the community.
In 2012, for example, the Skokie Review visited Jane Stenson School, where more than 50 percent of the student enrollment is classified as low-income. A team of dentists under the Illinois Mobile Dentists program came to Stenson that day to provide dental screenings for those who could not afford them. They were busy from morning until afternoon.
The free checkups included cleanings, fluoride and sealants to prevent cavities – services that the Sanford-Brown clinic will now be able to provide.
At the clinic’s opening, Dr. David Miller of the Illinois Department of Public Health told dental students it was up to them to make a difference in the community and in the state.
Chicago Dental Hygienists’ Society President Kasia Jiminez said the clinic will “open many doors of opportunity for students and the community.” Also on hand to congratulate the students and school was Dr. Darryl Pendleton, associate dean for student and diversity affairs with the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry.
But for all the words spoken on this happy day of celebration, it was really a day about smiles – the smiles on the faces of the students and the smiles that these students will soon help create in the community.
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen emphasized that same point.
“It’s really about the smiles on the faces of the young people,” he declared before cutting the ribbon, signaling that the Sanford-Brown Dental Hygiene Clinic in downtown Skokie is now open for business.