Published September 3, 2015
The School of Dental Medicine and Jericho Road Community Health Center have partnered on a pilot program to provide critically needed dental care to the immigrant and refugee populations on Buffalo’s West Side.
The three-week program, which began Aug. 17, will run through Sept. 4 at the health center at 184 Barton St. It marks one of the few times Jericho Road will offer oral health services during its nearly 20-year history.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Jericho Road to address the growing needs of refugee and other underserved populations within our community,” says Joseph Zambon, acting dean of the UB dental school.
“Our goal in partnering with community organizations such as Jericho Road is to develop an interprofessional care and educational model that will improve oral-health outcomes, reduce cost and improve patient satisfaction.”
Jericho Road, which was founded in 1997 by UB alumnus Myron Glick, provides health and educational services to Buffalo’s refugee, immigrant and low-income populations.
Eighty percent of the clinic’s patients are at or below the poverty line or are enrolled in Medicare. And Jericho Road is unique in that it employs a team of translators to accommodate its patients, who speak more than 40 languages.
“While going to medical school, I was shocked at how the poor were treated by the health care system versus people who had medical insurance,” says Glick, also Jericho Road’s chief medical officer. “At Jericho, no one has to be treated differently; we are blind to the payer. Regardless of insurance status, we will give you the same quality of care.”
In 2014, the clinic treated more than 10,000 people and delivered nearly 270 children. The health center, however, lacks dental services for its patients.
Although there are a number of medical practices in Buffalo, few health and dental offices are located on the city’s East and West sides, leaving a large number of people without access to care, says Glick.
The new program with the UB dental school aims to tackle that need by offering oral health care to patients via its 42-foot mobile dental van parked outside the health facility.
The mobile van, a complete dental clinic outfitted inside a semi-trailer, includes three dental chairs, an X-ray imaging machine and a check-in area for patients.
The van is staffed by UB dental students and faculty, and serves as an opportunity to provide dental students with clinical training where language is a barrier.
Currently, the van treats around 20 patients a day, a fraction of the nearly 200 people Jericho Road services daily, but it’s a step in right direction, says Glick.
The dental school hopes the pilot program will transition into a permanent service for Buffalo’s West Side community, similar to the school’s clinic within the Erie County Health Mall, which serves East Side neighborhoods.
“By bringing the mobile van to Jericho, we eliminate one of the greatest barriers to care: transportation,” says Stephen Abel, associate dean for community and professional initiatives for the dental school.
“It is our intention that this project serve as the first step in building a long-term relationship with Jericho, whereby we will ultimately have a permanent dental clinic in the neighborhood that will be operated in a true collaborative fashion.”
The School of Dental Medicine’s partnership with Jericho Road continues the university’s commitment to public service. As a major public university, UB’s mission includes outreach and partnership with individuals and organizations with diverse religious, cultural and political beliefs.
The mobile dental van is open at the clinic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, visit Jericho Road’s website.