IU dental school and Walker Career Center students join Jane Pauley in ribbon cutting for new clinic bearing her name

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Jane Pauley (center) celebrates new clinic with, from left: Walker Career Center high school students Ricky Lacy and Tautiana Brown-Robinson and IU dental students Elizabeth Rogers and Nathan Stanley. Photo by Jeff Bowles, Walker Career Center

Noted American broadcast journalist Jane Pauley joined students from the IU School of Dentistry and Metropolitan School District of Warren Township in the cutting of a cluster of ribbons to celebrate a new dental clinic for underserved patients that is nearing completion and housed in the Walker Career Center, located on the campus of Warren Central High School on Indianapolis’ Eastside, where Pauley grew up.

The colorful ribbons at the Aug. 3 ceremony represented each of the four organizations that are committed to the success of the new Jane Pauley Community Health Center Dental Clinic, where IU dental students and Walker’s dental assisting students will begin providing oral healthcare services in January 2013 to adults and children in need who are not currently under the care of a dentist.

Serving Eastside residents since its opening in 2009, the Jane Pauley health center, located inside Warren Township’s Renaissance School at 30th Street and Post Road, has broadened its footprint in the community to become a comprehensive healthcare provider with the addition of the new dental clinic, located inside the Walker Career Center at 9651 E. 21st Street.

Pauley, a 1968 graduate of Warren Central High School, spoke of the power of a partnership that will benefit not only area students but also residents of the surrounding neighborhood, and she stressed the uniqueness of the collaboration that made the school-based clinic possible. “We’re all standing here in a little corner of the Walker center on the Eastside of Indianapolis, but this is a national story, and it is my personal goal to see that this story gets the attention it deserves,” she said. “…This needs to be replicated. You’ve created the template…”

Teaming up with the Pauley health center on the dental clinic project are the Walker Career Center, IU School of Dentistry, and Community Health Network, a leading non-profit healthcare system in Central Indiana that has helped thousands of low-income Hoosiers acquire access to healthcare services, including nearly 40,000 schoolchildren through school-based programs.

Among the speakers at the ribbon cutting was IU’s dean of dentistry, Dr. John Williams, who expressed his appreciation for the dental school’s opportunity to be involved with this project at a time when the nation must rethink access to care issues. Bringing together these different constituencies to create a school-based clinic through Jane Pauley’s leadership is an example of innovation in training as the dental school prepares to educate the next generation of dental professionals, he said.

Construction of the new clinic was made possible with a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant of nearly $500,000 awarded to the Community Health Network Foundation. The primary IU professors facilitating the dental school’s participation are Dr. Joan Kowolik of Pediatric Dentistry and Dr. Stuart Schrader of Oral Biology.

One IU dental student who toured the clinic after participating in the ribbon cutting with Pauley says he is looking forward to treating patients there. “It’s going to be a wonderful experience,” says Nathan Stanley, who has already made substantial contributions to community events in his role as co-president of the Kids Club, a local group of dental school volunteers associated with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “I see it as a great opportunity for dental students to make an impact on a community while also benefiting from the clinic’s professional setting and having the Walker Career Center dental assisting students helping us every step of the way.”

Dental examinations and restorative treatment will be rendered through a nontraditional joint venture pairing IU students who are in their final year of dental school with Walker Career Center high school students who are enrolled in the center’s Dental Assistant Program. Both groups of students will work under the on-site supervision of faculty from their respective schools.

Children and teenagers will be referred to the clinic by Warren Township school nurses, and adult patients will come from the Pauley health center.

Housed on the Walker Career Center’s second floor and about 2,000 square-feet in size, the Pauley dental clinic is being used by Walker during first semester of the 2012-2013 academic year to train the dental assisting students who will then be assigned to work with IU’s dental students when the clinic opens in the winter. The fully appointed clinic features all new equipment and four treatment areas, a consultation room, a laboratory, and reception area. Plans are for the clinic to be open two days a week year-round.

Pauley is a graduate of Indiana University and holds an honorary IU degree in recognition of her distinguished career in broadcast journalism, including 13 years as co-host of NBC’s TODAY show.

August 8, 2012