In the dental community there are a number of patient populations that are considered underserved. Alisa Kauffman, a top 25 dentist, is working to provide care for one of those underserved communities, the elderly. More specifically Kauffman treats geriatric, home bound patients in their homes as well as in nursing homes across New York City. She relishes the opportunity for constant change and movement as well as the opportunity to work in a variety of different and new offices on a daily basis. To some, house call dentistry may seem like a foreign field, but Kauffman has been practicing successfully for the last 29 years. Kauffman is also the Clinical Director of Faculty Practices at The University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater, where she’s helped develop the Living Independently For Elders (LIFE) Center within the school of nursing.
“I created this project from the ground up, everything from building out the room to developing the curriculum,” Kauffman said. “The LIFE members could virtually have any treatment necessary for them to maintain the best quality of life. This program would also bridge teaching between the disciplines of nursing and dentistry.”
In the LIFE program students rotate on a weekly basis, learning to work in a different environment with different materials and using different instruments that they don’t get to try in dental school.
“I show them reality videos that I made of me treating geriatric patients in their apartments and at the LIFE center,” she said. “I can tell you that they really are paying attention to them and I know I have inspired a few to become geriatric dentists.”
Since she first created the LIFE program from the ground up, it has become a very successful project that Kauffman is very proud of. Between all the center has accomplished and the quality dentists it has produced who are now well versed in the ways of geriatric medicine, the LIFE program has been a force for good in the geriatric community.
“I also love the students I mentor and it makes me so happy that they are all becoming so successful,” she said. “My advice to my students is to do what you love, and you will never work another day in your life. If you can find that love, you will find happiness at work.”
Kauffman is most thankful to her family for the support they’ve provided to her over the years. Between her parents who always kept her on the right path and encourage her to keep learning and growing, and her husband who is the glue that holds everything in her life together for the past 26 years, Kauffman considers herself very lucky. She also has a daughter whom she is very proud of and who she divines inspiration from daily as a young woman entering adulthood while working to accomplish some very lofty goals.
“I think that the number one thing I’ve learned from my journey is that I am still on a journey,” she said. “I believe in myself and know that there are many achievements and goals that still need to be fulfilled on my work bucket list before I retire.”
"These testimonials were taken from comments on The Washington Post. “Dr. Kauffman is a real angel. What a..."
"My Dad is 100 years old. He developed dementia a few years ago. Recently his dentures broke in half,..."
"Thanks for publishing the fascinating piece on Dr. Alisa Kauffman . It’s alway refreshing to find..."
"Alisa Kauffman travels the urban frontier alone. She brings attention to a need for the coordination of comprehensive dental/medical..."
"I enjoyed reading ‘House Dentist’. I appreciate that you highlighted the good work that Penn Alum’s do..."
"Congratulations on the fabulous article regarding the life-giving work and comic adventures of Dr. Alisa Kauffman. Such a tremendous..."
"Dearest Alisa, Thank you for your very sweet email. You made yesterday such a pleasure. I wish everyone I..."
"Dear Dr. Kauffman, You made the impossible treatment happen and I have the perfect result. I am eternally grateful..."
"Thank you Dr. Kauffman for making me feel great again. Love, Sarah"
"Dear Dr. Kauffman, I can’t thank you enough for helping me in a time of crisis!!! I couldn’t eat..."