Patients can’t always come to the office. Sometimes, the office has to come to them. With the world’s largest mobile clinic—a trailer that’s 48 feet long and 22 feet wide—the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC) can reach many patients.
The trailer made its debut on Feb. 6 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and more at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, Calif. Faculty, staff, and more than 85 dental students attended the event and provided dental treatment to 120 disadvantaged children.
“It is our hope that these community experiences engender in our students a lasting commitment to give back to the community,” said Avishai Sadan, DMD, dean of the dental school.
The trailer is the eighth mobile clinic in the school’s fleet, which, outside of the military, is the largest in the nation. The custom-made mobile facility is equipped with 8 dental chairs, a separate x-ray room, and the Synesthesia patient-calming system, which uses soft music and vibrant imagery to soothe anxiety.
“Today, my dream has come to fruition, to combine social work and dentistry and share my family’s good fortune,” said Catherine Hutto of the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation, which supported the mobile clinic with a $3 million gift.
USC also will use the funding to provide faculty endowments and student scholarships to community-minded individuals in both dentistry and social work. It will help establish collaboration between the dental school and USC’s school of social work to better provide healthcare and outreach services to disadvantaged families as well—carrying on the legacy of the late Charlie Goldstein, a faculty member often called the “father of USC’s community dentistry.”
“You know, standing here today, I can’t help but think how happy Charlie Goldstein would be to see how the program he started has flourished,” said Dr. Roseann Mulligan, associate dean of community health programs and hospital affairs. “Charlie often said the best thing you can do in life is to help others,” she said. “I hope to impart that wisdom to every one of my students, year after year, so that one day no one will have to suffer through dental pain simply because they cannot afford to see a dentist.”