Shelter Sealant Program

In line with the goals of SEAL Indiana to provide services to children, the program targets area shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence that house children.

The Shelter Sealant program began in 2003 as a Children’s Dental Health month event. It has since developed into a regular service-learning activity within the Division of Community Dentistry at IUSD. One Monday evening each month, dental school faculty, staff and students provide services for children housed by these shelters. The program is coordinated by SEAL Indiana, with the enthusiastic assistance of administrative staff from many agencies who currently participate. These include Coburn Place, Dayspring Center, Holy Family Shelter, Julian Center, Wellspring, Salvation Army Shelter and WINGS in Indianapolis. Daytime summer visits are also being made to nearby shelters outside the city.

Most shelter sealant events are after-school evening programs that offer all dental students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to engage in community service by donating their time so services can be provided. Volunteer faculty, staff and students have provided comprehensive examinations for infants and children; dental sealants for children with permanent molars, toothbrush prophies, oral health education and fluoride varnish treatments. Most of these services are provided at no charge to the families or shelters.

The Center for Service and learning from IUPUI has provided support to this program by granting the program ten Service Learning Assistants (SLA) since 2008. These SLA’s help by organizing the sites and dates; packing and bringing supplies, and contacting volunteers and faculty. Daytime summer visits are also being made to nearby shelters outside the city.