Summary: Senior Smiles and Wellness project, conducted at University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni dental school, had the aim of providing dental care to seniors and elderly individuals who may not have access to such care due to financial or logistical reasons. A team of volunteer dental students, supervised by licensed dental professionals, provided dental screenings to seniors at the school clinic. The dental students used their training to provide dental screenings while also gaining valuable experience working with the elderly population.

Significance: The Senior Smiles and Wellness event was successful in providing dental care to seniors and elderly individuals who may have otherwise gone without it. The project allowed the dental students to gain practical experience and develop their interdisciplinary skills while also giving back to the community. The project also highlighted the need for more dental care services for elderly individuals, especially those who may not have access to affordable dental care.The event also highlighted the importance of community outreach and volunteer projects in addressing this need. The dental school plans to continue conducting similar projects in the future, with the hope of reaching more elderly individuals in need of dental care.

Acknowledgements: We would like to express our gratitude to the school for allowing us to conduct this project, as well as to the faculty who supervised our work. We would particularly like to thank Professor Miller, Carol Weinstein, Eric Bertumen, Karl Pfeifer and Dan Soine for helping put on the event. We would also like to thank the seniors who participated in the project and trusted us with their care. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the students who volunteered their time and skills to make this project a success.

The Senior Smiles Health & Wellness Fair is a community oral health outreach event sponsored by SCOPE (Student Community Outreach for Public Education) at University of the Pacific (UOP), Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. The event is held in San Francisco at the school of Dentistry’s campus and usually held within April. Generally over 100 members of San Francisco’s senior citizen population with limited access to health care attend this event. In 2022 we held the 27th Senior Smiles Health & Wellness Fair; the first after the pandemic. We only had 2.5 months to plan the event (compared to the usual 6 months). 65 Dugoni dental and dental hygiene students volunteered in addition to over 30 volunteers from various other health and wellness groups. Over 70 members of the community were served during the event.
The event is modeled as a hybrid Interprofessional education (IPE) event, with representatives from the school of Pharmacy, Audiology, UC Berkeley Optometry, UOP school of Dentistry, School of Physical Therapy, UOP Master of social work, and the SF department of disability and aging. Each group present provided various levels of screening, education, and services to the clients that attended the event. To promote interprofessional education prior the morning of the event all volunteers attended a breakfast in which each participating group gave a speech introducing their profession, its implication on health equity, and recommended interventions.
This event presented a great opportunity for various health education programs to learn from each other and promote future collaborations among healthcare providers. The ultimate goal is to promote health equity, increase interprofessional education, and to provide a variety of Health Screening Assessments and Referrals for elders 55 years and older, and to facilitate coordination of care rendered for each patient.