Skip to main content


Eastman Institute for Oral Health / About Us / Community Involvement / Helping People with Special Needs

Compassionate, High Quality Care

For more than 40 years, Eastman Institute for Oral Health has had a team of compassionate providers who take extraordinary care of people with unique needs, including those with developmental or intellectual disabilities, cancer, or other medically complex conditions, and older adults where medications and the natural aging process can create oral health challenges.Dental team with patient

Caregivers and patients alike rely on the many Eastman Institute experts who have the specialized training to restore function and quality of life, while maintaining a healthy smile.

Patient Care

  • EIOH's Dr. Jorge M. Davila (Pedo '72) developed several innovative techniques for managing patients with developmental disabilities that are still used today. These include desensitization, such as lotion for touch therapy, perfume, music and low light for relaxation.
  • Each year, Eastman Dental clinic at Monroe Community Hospital treats 500 patients with developmental, intellectual and learning disabilities. For information and scheduling: 585-760-6051
  • Eastman Dental's general dentistry clinic, urgent care clinic, and pediatric dentistry clinic treat patients with developmental disabilities. For information and scheduling: 585-275-5051
  • For those who have been unable to receive routine care, Dr. Wayne Lipschitz has helped more than 3,000 patients in the operating room by providing extensive treatment.Dr. Lipschitz in OR
  • Eastman Dental partners with Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics to increase access to care through events like Day for Special Smiles - a soon-to-be ongoing monthly clinic dedicated to treating patients with special needs.
  • A new EIOH SMILEmobile, designed especially for patients with special needs will be on the road early next year to further increase access and improve oral health care.

Breaking Down Barriers through Education

  • Dentists who are taking specialty training at Eastman Institute for Oral Health rotate through our clinic, and learn different approaches  to successfully treat patients with special needs.
  • EIOH dentists training to be specialists volunteer at four Special Olympics Healthy Athlete dental screenings each year.
  • EIOH has partnered with Monroe Community College's Hygiene program; 15-20 hygienists in training now attend each dental screening at a Special Olympics event.
  • A local chapter of the American Academy of Medicine and Dentistry has been established at URMC.  Medical students and EIOH residents host many events, including Spread the Word to End the Word; they also work to pair medical and dental professionals to provide health coaching to educate athletes about links between health and athletic performance.

Award Winning Care

  • Dr. Wayne Lipschitz, Dr. Maricelle Abayon, Dr. Lisa DeLucia have all won a Leadership Award from the Golisano Foundation for their exceptional work to improve health care and access for people with developmental disabilities.  Each received a beautiful award and a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice that benefits people with developmental disabilities.
  • Andrea Pedersen, RDH won the URMC Board Excellence Award for her compassionate approach with patients.happy patient

Bridging the Gaps

EIOH has worked closely with the Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics and many other community partners to approach the problems related to the unmet oral health care needs from many angles.  A few years ago, EIOH and the Golisano Foundation teamed up with many key players to form a Task Force (highlights below).

Executive Summary

Final Report

Community Task Force Key Findings

Special Olympics Healthy Smiles

Survey Results

Background Information

It’s estimated that a significant portion of the 135,000 people in New York with developmental disabilities live in the Finger Lakes region. Most live in community based group homes and rely on nearby providers for health and dental care. But providers who are adequately accredited or trained to care for these patients are few and far between.

Several factors contribute to the poor oral health and hygiene of people with developmental disabilities, including physical limitations, complex medical conditions, behavioral issues, and increased incidence of early decay. Other challenges arise due to access, transportation, insurance, and the small number of available dentists who can accommodate the unique needs of this population

Dental care is the most pressing healthcare need among people with developmental disabilities. That’s why Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center partnered with the Golisano Foundation to gather data to better understand the depth and breadth of the situation.

Based on much input, solid information, plenary sessions with all stakeholders, and successful national models, our community task force developed a set of practical action-oriented recommendations for substantially improving the availability and accessibility of oral health care for people with developmental disabilities.

In cooperation with area educational institutions providing training for oral health providers and community social service organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities, these recommendations in turn will provide a firm foundation for aggressively seeking support from state and federal agencies and foundations for launching a program designed to significantly improve the oral health services available to all people with developmental disabilities living in the greater Rochester area.

.More background, published papers and other insights into this situation locally and nationally.