• May 30, 2019

UIC-Dental adds social worker

Patients in need of logistical help with dental appointments will have an advocate at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry with the hiring of the college’s first ever medical social consultant/social worker.

In an effort to promote health equity and patient support, Elisabeth Purkis will coordinate services and appointments, case management and referrals for patients and families who use the Pediatric Dentistry clinics.

“The primary reason I’m here is to help patients and families who are finding that challenges in their lives are getting in the way of getting to appointments or following treatment plans,” Purkis said, noting that some of those life barriers may include mental health issues, a challenging home environment, financial stress, and geographic location. 

Purkis also will work with UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work to obtain and supervise social work interns at the College of Dentistry, facilitate case reviews with interns, faculty, residents, and students, and develop research, surveys, and data collection projects.

Funding for her position came from a Fry Foundation grant.