HealthMeets(™) SpArC Health Promotion Penn Dental Talks

Jagannath, Julia R, Talsani, Brooke, Casey, Andrew
Faculty / Advisor: Gluch, Joan, I
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, Division of Community Oral Health


HealthMeet(™) is an initiative through the organization, The Arc of the United States, which is an advocacy organization designed to advocate for equal rights and human dignity for individuals with disabilities. HealthMeet(™) provides opportunities for medical, dental and nursing students to raise awareness of common health issues that impact this population and provide health screenings and health education to this patient population.

Project Overview

The purpose of this community honors site project is to provide an on-line platform for oral health promotion to individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) as well as physical disabilities within the Arc of Philadelphia. It is our goal that this project will help create a smoother transition for caring for patients with disabilities and help to eliminate the response of “I can’t treat a patient with disabilities” to “I can”. Students will build on their communication skills, interactions with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities, and reinforce the importance of oral health to the community.


The outcome of this project is not an objective measure, but rather a subjective response for each participant in the sessions. Review slides are incorporated to assess knowledge gained from each prior presentation. For future assessment, the project may have pre-doctoral participants complete a survey assessing their comfort level working with individuals with IDD before the session and working with these individuals after the session. As for the clients at the Arc of Philadelphia day program, a different survey assessing the benefits they gained may be implemented. As sessions continue and clients of the program may request different topics that new PowerPoints will be created to address. It is the hope that in-person sessions will eventually be allowed where oral cancer screening sessions can be conducted and mock dental visits with health promotion conversations can be incorporated to help ease the anxiety surrounding an initial dental appointment.