Jacquelyn Taylor-Powell

Jacquelyn Taylor-Powell

Photo credit: Mark Stehle

WHO SHE IS: Coordinator of the PennSmiles program in Penn Dental’s Department of Community Oral Health.

YEARS AT PENN: 9; nearly 4 with the PennSmiles Van.

WHAT SHE DOES: Taylor-Powell oversees the daily operations and management of the dental van, which travels to West Philadelphia schools to fill cavities, take X-rays and outline preventative care for children, some of whom have never been to a dentist before. She assesses which kids need treatment and readies the van for patients.

HOW THE KIDS RESPOND: “The kids are really great. They all have different personalities. They love coming on the van,” she says.

WHY ORAL HYGENE MATTERS: “The majority of kids that we see have some decay,” explains Taylor-Powell. In a school year, Penn Dental students on the van treat more than 1,200 kids—and more than 500 cavities. “We focus a lot on prevention,” Taylor-Powell adds. “Not having oral hygiene—that’s what gets these kids in trouble.”

Originally published on March 30, 2006