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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
Outside the Ivory Tower
A beautiful Mind
The Long March
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Critical Care

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Winter 2002
Outside the Ivory Tower
page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

HEALTHY TEETH, HEALTHY LIVES

"THEY WORKED ON ME FOR TWO OR THREE HOURS AND NOW I CAN SMILE AGAIN."

FIVE-YEAR-OLD LUPE LOPEZ has never been to a dentist. When she opens her mouth, many of her tiny teeth are black with decay. Her little brother, Jesus, has never been either. Her parents, Jorge and Rosa, haven't been to one in years; they work as household help and have no dental insurance.

But today the family is in the reception room of the Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center waiting for the children to be seen. Situated in a former bank building on Venice Boulevard, the center provides care to working poor, elderly and indigent people from throughout the surrounding area. The demand is great, and since it opened in 1969 the clinic has grown from a five-chair storefront to this comprehensive 20-chair center, which logged some 15,000 patient visits last year.

The needs of these patients often is substantial, "while their financial resources are very limited," says Diana Christie, adjunct assistant professor in the Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry and acting director of the center. Before coming to Venice, Christie worked at a Veterans Administration hospital and in private practice. "What really has made dentistry rewarding for me," she says, "is being able to help people who are in a situation where they might not otherwise have access to care."

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