First Five Dental Care Program at Penn Dental Medicine

Elizabeth Friedman

Friedman, Elizabeth, Alvarez, Carla, Buchbinder, Kathleen, Govani, Shivali, Hilton, Katherine, Kim, Min-Young, Patel, Shivali, Roseto, Lara
Faculty / Advisor: Wallaert, Deanne
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, Division of Community Oral Health


Through a $1.53 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Penn Dental Medicine was able to establish the First Five Dental Care Program. This Program provides dental experiences for predoctoral students and gives them the opportunity to supply comprehensive dental care to Philadelphia’s youngest population.

Project Overview

The First Five Dental Care Program aims to provide quality and accessible dental care for children ages zero to five. The goal of the program is to establish a dental home for patients and promote routine preventative care. There are numerous barriers to dental care that exist, especially in regard to the pediatric population.


Through the program’s emphasis on routine preventative care, positive changes have been made in providing increased access to care and promoting lifelong oral health among the young patient population. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges for the program, but it also brought about the advent of initiatives such as calling families to screen their children as potential new patients. Students were also able to focus more of their time on their individual research projects, which were accomplished and presented remotely.