Dear Dr. Kauffman,

The video you showed us in 3rd year class at UPenn was hilarious. I remember the very groovy background music – that lecture was a blast! The geriatric rotations made me think about what a mobile practice “setting” can be and got me thinking of doing something similar in the future.

As a graduate from the class of 2015, I am currently working with a large Indian Health Service hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have the privilege of being part of a very unique team of dental professionals servicing a patient base of ~34,000 patients spanning more than two dozen villages spanning an area the equivalent of Texas, and reaching as far north into the Arctic. I provide routine and emergency dental care which includes general, endodontics, prosthodontics, periodontics, pediatric, and oral surgery dental care. Prior to graduation I also completed an externship in Barrow, Alaska, which was my starting point for an interesting career. On a daily basis I interact with Community Health Aide Practitioners and Dental Health Aide Therapists (a controversial public health initiative which has immense success in Alaska – feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in learning more). I also coordinate medical evacuations for dental patients living in the remote villages. Furthermore, an important aspect of my job is to travel to remote villages via small bush planes (through harsh Arctic winter weather! And as part of this job I even signed a “death by travel waiver.” ) in order to deliver mobile dental services to village patients, with a focus on pediatric and geriatric segments – one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job is to listen to village elders describe stories of their pre-electricity lives while I perform their denture treatment! It is this aspect of the job that motivates me to become a geriatrician: an often overlooked dental need working with a patient population with both immense amounts of medical/dental needs and wisdom to share with us. As dental needs become much more accessible to a geriatric patient base, the options and affordability for home- and mobile-based dental care is likewise poised to expand, both in private and public sectors


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