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LAUSD Opens Hilda L. Solis Dental Clinic at El Sereno Middle School

Board President Mónica García
Phone: (213) 241-6180
FAX: (213) 241-8459

March 6, 2009

Emma Soichet
(213) 241-4143

A partnership between Health Net, Universal Care Dental Center and the school district, 
new on-campus dental clinic will provide critical service to students in need

LOS ANGELES - Offering free, on-campus dental care for students, LAUSD Board 
President Mónica García and representatives of Health Net and Universal Care Dental 
Center today joined community members to open the Hilda L. Solis Dental Clinic at El 
Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.

"This is a great day for the students and community in El Sereno, who today have a 
new opportunity for a stronger, brighter future," said Board President García. "By 
providing free dental care and getting the message out about the importance of 
preventative care, we're clearing a silent hurdle for so many of our students."

"We are very excited to partner with El Sereno Middle School and Universal Care 
Dental Centers to help create dental homes for the school's students and other 
children in the community," said David Meadows, Health Net Vice President for State 
Health Programs. "Good dental care is an important component of overall health."

A partnership between LAUSD, Health Net and Universal Care Dental Center, the 
Hilda L. Solis Dental Clinic is a new model for dental care in the school district, 
bringing experienced national managed care providers as partners in serving students.

Operated by Health Net and Universal Care, the clinic will provide dental care for 
students and their families eligible for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and private 
insurance. (Based on the number of students receiving free or reduced lunches, 
officials estimate that 75 percent of all LAUSD students may be eligible for these 
programs.) For those students who are ineligible but in need, Health Net will provide 
services for free.

Initially conceived of by the Wilson High School, El Sereno and Farmdale Middle 
School's Healthy Start Collaborative, the clinic was built with over $265,000 in funding 
allocated by then-Congresswoman Solis through the Department of Health and 
Human Services. Additional funding came from the LA Trust for Children's Health, 
Board President GarcĂ­a's discretionary funds, and LAUSD's joint-use program.

"This new clinic serves as the District's ability to partner with private organizations and 
provide superb care and cutting edge modernization that ultimately benefits our 
students," said Guy Mehula, Chief Facilities of LAUSD. "Our students deserve today's 
best technologies as well as the highest quality care from providers who are leaders in 
the field of dentistry and oral health care."

Dental disease is the single most pervasive disease in the LAUSD student population, 
believed to lead to health-related absences and pain for students in the classroom. 

Nationally, 15- to 18-year-olds miss 1.6 million days of school per year because of 
dental disease, according to a 2000 report by the US Surgeon General; while 
Californian children suffer from tooth decay at five times the rate of asthma, according 
to Health Net. 

The dental clinic is part of a district-wide effort to address students' dental, and is the 
first of two new dental clinics to open. Currently, the school district offers mobile dental 
vans at selected elementary schools through Queenscare and USC Dental School; 
dental care through certain on-campus health clinics run by Community Health Center 
partners; portable dental services offered at selected schools; referral into community 
dentists who generously provide care to a limited number of students in need; and 
programs that provide screenings and preventative care at schools through grants from 
the Kaiser Foundation, Reach Out Health Care America, and the Kay Kirka Fund, Inc.

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