University of Pennsylvania, Penn Dental Medicine

Care Center for Persons with Disabilities

Philadelphia, PA

Those with severe physical, cognitive, or emotional complications have difficulty receiving routine dental treatment, further compounding dental and other health issues. The Care Center for Persons with Disabilities at Penn Dental Medicine fosters an academically based service-learning program that forms the framework for faculty and students to “expand community engagement in the Philadelphia region with patients traditionally underserved by dentistry.” Right down to the last detail, EwingCole designed the Care Center to serve as the optimal teaching space and support the needs of each patient, such as low-income adults and children, including preschool and school-age children, the elderly, and those patients with medically complex conditions. Open operatory bays and individual exam rooms provide varying degrees of mobility, privacy, light, and sound. The design of dental utilities offers maximum flexibility, allowing dentists to reorient their workspace. A large exam room with oversized doors and direct access to the building’s public circulation corridor accommodates patients in a stretcher or hospital bed. Finally, a ribbed flooring strip establishes a wayfinding route to exam rooms for the visually impaired.