Joan Kowolik honored by IUPUI for her commitment to students and patients, including children of the working poor

Dr. Joan Kowolik
Dr. Joan Kowolik

Indiana University School of Dentistry pediatric dentistry professor Dr. Joan Kowolik received a Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., M.D., Experience Excellence Recognition Award during IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz’s Employee Recognition Convocation, held March 6, 2013, at the IUPUI Campus Center.

As director of IU’s predoctoral pediatric dentistry program, Dr. Kowolik was cited for her special interest in children of the working poor, who often have inadequate oral healthcare and sometimes none at all. She is committed to exposing dental school students to these young patients’ needs while the students are still in school, thus increasing the likelihood that they will enter their communities after graduation as dental professionals who are also truly engaged citizens.

An IU dental school leader in community outreach, Dr. Kowolik has initiated and maintained over the years numerous programs that will take students of dentistry beyond their clinical training into the realm of social activism and advocacy for the underserved, especially underserved children.

Dr. Kowolik has been a member of the IUSD faculty since 1998 and full time since 2002. She is a dental graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She received additional training in pediatric dentistry at Edinburgh and also the University of Leeds in England.

Her numerous contributions to the IU School of Dentistry include her founding mentorship of the Indiana student chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry known as the IUSD Kids Club, a group of student volunteers who provide education and preventive services at community events and schools throughout central Indiana.

She helped reshape IUSD’s approach to the dental profession’s annual Give Kids a Smile program so that restorative care for children in greatest need of services can receive them in a timely manner, and in a way that involves dentists in the youngsters’ own communities.

Together with Dr. Stuart Schrader of the Oral Biology department, Dr. Kowolik took the lead at IUSD in a major collaboration with Indianapolis’s Jane Pauley Community Health Clinic, Warren Township Metropolitan School District, and Community Health Network to establish a dental clinic for Eastside children and adults that is housed at the Walker Career Center on the Warren Central High School campus. Named in honor of Ms. Pauley, the clinic is set to open in the spring of 2013 and will be staffed in part by IUSD faculty and volunteer students from the DDS Class of 2013.

March 7, 2013