MOM-n-PA; Volunteer Reflections

Reflections of

Mission Returns to its Philadelphia Origins at Temple ’ s Kornberg School of Dentistry

By Dr . Bruce R . Terry , Editor Emeritus
I was driving down the Schuylkill Expressway in the dark . It was 4:30 a . m . on September 23 , 2021 , and I was having a flashback .
It was back in 2012 that I attended the first board meeting for MOM-n-PA . This non-profit had just been created to serve the dental needs of Pennsylvanians . Modeling our plan after a program designed by and with help from the American Dentist Cares Foundation , we were going to hold an annual event with hundreds of volunteers and seeing up to two thousand patients in just two days .
As I drove past the Liacouras Center the in dark , predawn hours of May 2013 , I was floored by the number of people lining Broad Street and extending around the block . That year we treated around 1,900 patients and “ cut our teeth ” in the mass , free dental delivery business .
After holding six more events around the state , we decided to return to the Liacouras Center in 2020 . We had made all the arrangements in late 2019 and early 2020 – and you know what happened – COVID-19 . We canceled the 2020 event and indefinitely postponed any future events .
Late in 2020 , the executive board considered our options for 2021 . With the pandemic in full swing and vaccines on the horizon , we had to make some especially important decisions . We knew that a free dental event was desperately needed in the North Philadelphia area . Even before the pandemic the need was there , but there were many concerns .
We discussed all the factors affecting a successful and safe event . Topics like : Would the patients come , would the volunteers come , how could we make it safe , what would we need to do differently in the pandemic era ? How many patients would we be able to treat ? These were all difficult questions . Other states had also deferred events during 2020 and 2021 .
One of our board members , Dr . Amid Ismail , Dean of Temple Kornberg School of Dentistry , offered to hold the event at the dental school . He cited that the school had reopened in June 2020 and was continuing to operate safely . We agreed that this was a great idea and that MOM-n-PA , along with the Kornberg Dental School , would be able to provide much-needed free care to the community . Dean Ismail named Dr . Kelly Holst as the Temple Kornberg Chairperson . What a great job she did with this event !
Dr . Amid Ismail , Dean of Temple Kornberg
School of Dentistry