Dental clinic prepares for 10th anniversary at MCSA

Michael Kanellis
Michael Kanellis

Last week offered a rare treat: Driving 40 miles or so to Iowa City, interviewing Michael Kanellis and Richard Burke at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics and then coming back to write a story.

It felt like it was 1995 again and I was trekking around parts of North Dakota to write stories for the Bismarck Tribune. Pretending for a few hours that I was a reporter again was fun. And it was for a good cause: Promoting the 10th anniversary of the pediatric dental clinic the university operates in Muscatine at MCSA. A 10th anniversary open house is being planned for 3-5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at MCSA.

Richard Burke
Richard Burke

The story I wrote was published Wednesday in the Muscatine Journal. Go here to read the full story. Here is a portion of it:

Talking about the pediatric dental clinic at MCSA makes Michael Kanellis and Richard Burke smile.

It’s been 10 years since the University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics opened a pediatric clinic in the lower level of MCSA. And thousands of Muscatine and Louisa county children have been examined and treated at the clinic by more than 800 senior dental students and residents. At some point every year, all 80 of the college’s seniors will travel to Muscatine on Tuesdays to work in the clinic. The residents, who have graduated and are studying in the college’s specialty programs, work at the clinic on Thursdays.

In 2014, the clinic scheduled more than 1,000 appointments with 710 children.

“There are lots of repeat customers, people who started on Day 1,” said Burke, a clinical associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics. He supervises student dentists in the clinic at MCSA.

“Every time I see one of those,” he said of the repeat patients. “It’s fun to go back in time and look at how young they were and now they’re teenagers” …

… Kanellis, who was a dentist in Muscatine from 1981 to 1994, is now Associate Dean for Patient Care at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry & Dental Clinics and was a key figure in starting the clinic at MCSA …

“We decided it would be a good idea to look at Muscatine and find out, ‘Can we match up a need? Did Muscatine have a need for affordable dental care for kids and could the (university) meet that need?’ ” Kanellis said last week. “Our primary goal (was) to give graduating dentists, who are going to be general dentists, a more hands-on experience with kids.”