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Jane Pauley celebrates namesake dental clinic with IU Dental School, Walker Career Center students

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
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 View print-quality image

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August 21, 2012

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Noted American broadcast journalist and Indiana University alumna Jane Pauley joined students from the IU School of Dentistry and the Warren Township school district for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate a new dental clinic for underserved patients on Indianapolis’ east side, where Pauley grew up.

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

Serving eastside residents since it opened in 2009, the Jane Pauley health center, inside Warren Township’s Renaissance School at 30th Street and Post Road, has broadened its footprint in the community to become a comprehensive health care provider with the addition of the dental clinic, inside the Walker Career Center at 9651 E. 21st St., on the Warren Central High School campus.

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 east side 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 nonprofit health care system in Central Indiana that has helped thousands of low-income Hoosiers acquire access to health care 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 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 with Pauley after the ribbon cutting says he is looking forward to treating patients there. “It’s going to be a wonderful experience,” said 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 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, the 2,000-square-foot Pauley dental clinic is being used by Walker during the first semester of the 2012-13 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 a 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.