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Colgate-Palmolive Gifts $1M Gift to Support Penn Dental Care Center for Persons with Disabilities

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine) has received $1 million from the Colgate-Palmolive Company to help support the new Penn Dental Medicine Care Center for Persons with Disabilities and the development of the Colgate Innovation Laboratory.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine) has received $1 million from the Colgate-Palmolive Company to help support the new Penn Dental Medicine Care Center for Persons with Disabilities and the development of the Colgate Innovation Laboratory.

Projected to open next fall, Penn Dental Medicine’s Care Center for Persons with Disabilities will help advance patient care, as it is estimated to serve 10,000 patients per year. The 12-chair, 3,500-square-foot facility will be located within the school’s Robert Schattner Center and equipped to serve patients in wheelchairs and on gurneys. A stimulation room will accommodate patients with sensory sensitivities by providing low lighting and sound baffling to help ease patient anxiety.

Penn Dental Medicine’s Care Center for Persons with Disabilities will provide patients of all ages with the highest quality of preventive and interceptive oral healthcare. The center’s comprehensive educational program will also train Penn Dental Medicine students to provide safe, effective, and empathetic care to patients with disabilities.

One in four adults, or 61 million Americans, have a disability.1 People with special needs face barriers to oral healthcare, as dental offices lack essential equipment to accommodate patients such as a wheelchair lift. Dental staff may also lack training in treating patients with special needs.

“A key goal of the center will also be to educate practicing dentists, dental hygienists, teachers, nurses, and caregivers on how preventive practices and teamwork can improve the quality of life for both the disabled and their families,” says Penn Dental Medicine Dean Mark Wolff, DDS, PhD. “We plan to develop and report on best practices through targeted publications, as well as organized dental and research groups nationwide.”

Embedded in the center is the Innovation Laboratory where Colgate experts will work alongside Pen Dental Medicine faculty, students, and researchers to assess the needs of this patient population, and develop and refine new dental products that facilitate optimal care for patients with disabilities, according to Penn Dental Medicine.

Special self-care products, such as wide-handled toothbrushes and floss holders, can help patients maintain their oral hygiene at home. Oral health professionals should also demonstrate oral hygiene techniques to caregivers and patients.

“We look forward to joining forces with our esteemed colleagues at Penn Dental Medicine to aid in the development and implementation of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies to address the oral care needs of people with disabilities in collaboration with their caregivers and healthcare providers, ultimately improving their oral and overall health,” says Maria Ryan, DDS, PhD, chief dental officer at Colgate-Palmolive.

REFERENCE

  1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC: 1 in 4 US Adults Live With a Disability. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0816-disability.html. Accessed April 14, 2020.

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