Teledentistry Clinics will open in Woodlake, Lindsay
and Cutler-Orosi in Tulare County
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles eHealth program expands with the Grand
Opening of three preventive dental clinics on school
CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323)
LOS ANGELES -- Childrens Hospital Los Angeles’ eHealth program
will expand with the Grand Opening of three fully functional preventive dental
clinics on school campuses in the rural communities of Woodlake, Lindsay and
Cutler-Orosi in Tulare County, on Friday, March 9, 2007, according to
Jose C. Polido, DDS, M.S., head of the Division of Dentistry at
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.
State and local dignitaries expected to attend the Grand Opening ceremonies
will include United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development
State Director Ben Higgins; California State Assemblyman
Bill Maze; 21st Congressional District Director Justin
Stoner, representing Congressman Devin Nunes; Tulare
County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak; Steve
Tietjen, Superintendent, Woodlake Elementary and High School Districts;
Frank Murphy, Superintendent, Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School
Districts; and Superintendent of the Lindsay Unified School District
“Each of these clinics is equipped with state-of-the-art general dental
operatory systems, including digital intra-oral imaging and X-ray equipment,”
said Dr. Polido, an assistant professor at clinical dentistry at the Keck School
of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
“In addition, each of the clinics is equipped with a videoconferencing unit
to facilitate telehealth consultation with faculty dentists at Childrens
Hospital Los Angeles and the USC School of Dentistry,” said Dr. Polido. A
patient management application system has been deployed in the dental clinic at
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and this application is fully accessible, via
virtual private network, from each of the three remote clinics.
An Orthophos digital panoramic X-ray unit has been deployed at the Woodlake
clinic to support the efforts of the eHealth program to broaden its diagnosing
and remote consultation capabilities, which is a major step toward detailed
orthodontic and craniofacial diagnosis.
Having developed close collaborative relationships with IT network leadership
at the Tulare County Office of Education in Visalia, video and data exchange
utilizes the existing K-12 High Speed Network, an element of the CENIC system
linking public schools throughout California, at no cost to the program.
A locally based, Spanish-speaking registered dental hygienist (RDH) has been
employed by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and now rotates through these
clinics in the delivery of preventive services to school children, under the
general supervision of USC faculty dentists based at Childrens Hospital.
Administration and management of the RDH take place remotely via the telehealth
The three clinics were designed in cooperation with architects from
Sullivan-Schein Dental, and constructed with the assistance of grants to the
school districts from the USDA Rural Development.
The completion of the clinics represents the successful culmination of the
implementation phase of the eHealth program. Through a collaborative process
between Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the USC School of Dentistry, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Health Resources and Services Administration, the
California Telemedicine and eHealth Center (CTEC) and The California Endowment,
the three school districts and others, the program has been brought to the point
where provision of remotely supervised preventive oral health services and
dental health education for K-12 children and their families can be facilitated.
“USDA Rural Development is proud to support not just the economic health or
rural communities, but the health and well-being of rural residents,” said Mr.
Higgins. “Our collaborative efforts with CTEC, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
and Tulare County, communities are providing much-needed dental care for
thousands of children.” Community Programs faculty at the USC School of
Dentistry, together with eHealth program staff, have devised comprehensive
screening protocols and electronic recording systems in order to document oral
health status among migrant students in these three communities. Screening
findings also will be used to identify children with most urgent needs for
eHealth program consultation, assessment and preventive treatment.
Referral for restorative treatment will be facilitated by eHealth program
staff and school district support personnel. In the first round of screenings,
undertaken in October 2006, parental consent return for these screenings
averaged well over 90-percent in all districts.
Since the start of the 2006-07 school year, and in very close collaboration
with school district leadership, more than 700 children have been successfully
screened in these districts.
“We anticipate the entire K-12 migrant student population will be screened
through this program by summer, 2007,” said Dr. Polido, “which presents
extraordinary and unique opportunities for systematic and formal research to be
undertaken in an effort to truly understand oral health status and needs of
rurally located, underserved pediatric populations.”
The eHealth Program is now ready to undertake additional unique opportunities
in the realm of remote delivery of continuing education programs to rural health
care providers and the expansion of consulting services by other dental and
Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most
seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and
it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its
leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of
America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of
Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 75 years. It is
a national leader in pediatric research.
Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of
board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of
the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also has
ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the top children’s hospitals in