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Patient's Generosity Supports UMSOD Clinic

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Written by Adam Zewe

A grateful patient has created a legacy at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) that will help faculty, staff and students provide oral health care for underserved patients. James Koepke, who passed away on April 15, established a memorial fund to support the UMSOD PLUS Clinic.

He created the James D. Koepke Fund for the PLUS Program to fund operations at the PLUS Clinic, which is the largest provider of dental care to Maryland's HIV-positive population. More than 600 patients received dental treatment in the clinic last year. Koepke, a Washington, D.C. resident, had been a patient since 1991 and felt a personal connection with the faculty, staff and students he interacted with, recalls Associate Professor Valli Meeks, DDS '88, MS, RDH, director of the PLUS Clinic. He was also a strong supporter of the clinic's mission. "Jim was sensitive to the needs of the underserved. He wanted to make sure these people didn't fall through the cracks," Meeks says.

She is grateful for Koepke's generosity. Since the PLUS Clinic is largely supported by grants, there is constant uncertainty surrounding funding levels. The Koepke Fund will also benefit dental and hygiene students who complete rotations in the PLUS Clinic and learn important lessons about compassion and empathy. "Jim was impressed by how our students focus on people, not on stereotypes. They are willing to help every patient," remarks Meeks.

To make a donation to the James D. Koepke Fund for the PLUS Program, visit www.dental.umaryland.edu/give or call 410-706-4298.


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