"This fund is dedicated to aiding individuals by helping to offset costs associated with dental treatments. This was created in an effort for us to give back to our Pittsburgh community, a community that we, Elizabeth Dennis (DMD, 2023) and Ryan Jenkens (D4), love. Many of our patients are hard-working people who struggle to earn a living wage; many patients earn just enough money to survive paycheck to paycheck. A plethora of patients do not have any form of dental insurance. Some patients make an income that is slightly more than is needed to qualify for federally- or state-run programs. On many occasions, we have witnessed patients cancel a scheduled dental appointment because a job opportunity presented itself at the last minute. A patient with a part-time job or sporadic employment may be faced with a tough choice: seeking greatly needed dental care or seizing an opportunity to earn some much-needed money. Volunteering at Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh opened our eyes to the realization that there is an immense need for dental care in our community, especially for people who live at or below the poverty line. After discussions with colleagues at other dental programs and wanting to help those in need, we realized that there was an opportunity to create this fund to help offset costs at Pitt Dental Medicine.
We see the importance and the huge impact that a healthy smile has on an individual’s self-confidence, including the ability to attain work and increase participation in the community. By increasing patient encounters, Healthy Smiles also improves student exposure to more hands-on and varied experiences.
We ask that you please consider donating to this important fund, enabling the school to support both our community and our students."