The University Of Iowa College Of Dentistry looked in the past to find the right director to lead its Muscatine Pediatric Dental Clinic into the future.
Last month, Kecia Leary, an associate professor, joined the dental college as Director of Outreach in Pediatric Dentistry. In this role, she will direct the clinic in Muscatine, succeeding Dr. Richard Burke, who had served as director since the clinic opened in 2005. Under Leary’s supervision, students and residents from the dental college treat children of all ages from Muscatine and Louisa counties. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the lower level of MCSA at 312 Iowa Ave.
“For me, it’s really exciting,” Leary said of overseeing the clinic. “I saw its inception. I came here as a resident near the end of my residency.”
That experience helped shape her career. For the past eight years, Leary had been the director of pediatric dentistry at a health center in Springfield, Mo.
“This has always been my dream job – to come back to work at the College of Dentistry,” said Leary, a U of I graduate who grew up 30 miles south of Iowa City in Washington, Iowa.
Leary and her husband, Kyle Vogel, have two children: Ben, 9; and Michaela, 5. The timing was right for her family to move back to Iowa City, Leary said.
At the clinic in Muscatine, Leary and the students she supervises can provide comprehensive dental services to children. Last year, more than 700 children were examined and treated at the clinic, which accepts patients whose families have dental insurance, along with those who are eligible for Iowa Medicaid and Hawk-I coverage.
For Leary, the positives associated with the Muscatine clinic include its history of providing care for more than 10 years. The clinic is also fortunate, she said, to have had Muscatine resident Teresa Cardoza as its receptionist since the beginning. Cardoza, who also works part-time at MCSA and is bilingual, gives the clinic visibility in the community and is a familiar face to patients and their families.
“We’re lucky to have her as part of our team,” Leary said.
The Muscatine Pediatric Dental Clinic at MCSA is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To schedule an appointment, please call 563-263-0895.