The UCLA School of Dentistry formally dedicated a new pediatric dentistry wing at the Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center on Saturday, April 12th, recognizing the project’s donors for their longstanding generosity and celebrating the official launch of the new community-based pediatric dentistry residency training program.

Robert, Marion and their son Tom Wilson were honored at the groundbreaking for their roles as donors to the dental school. Margaret Bloomfield, another major donor, was also recognized.

Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of UCLA School of Dentistry, said he was impressed after viewing the new pediatric wing, calling it “state of the art.”

“This is a fantastic facility,” said Park. “There are many children from indigent populations who now will have the opportunity to have proper dental care.”

He credited the Wilson family and Bloomfield for making the university and the community’s dream of expanded dental care a reality.

“With the generous help of our donors, we can now consult with the community far more than we did before,” said Dean Park.

The Wilsons are UCLA alumni who have been involved in activities at the university for decades. Robert Wilson led Cam- paign UCLA, the campus’s record-setting fundraising initiative, which concluded in 2005.

Marion Wilson is a past president of UCLA Women & Philanthropy and has served as a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Governors. In April 2006, the Wilsons received the UCLA Medal in recognition of their extraordinary service to the university.

Tom Wilson, president of his family’s development firm, Duckett-Wilson Development Company, served as the project manager for the construction of the pediatric wing. The architecture firm (M) Arch. and contractor Kasper Construction built the new addition.

The approximately 1,500-square-foot addition to the UCLA Dental Center consists of a waiting room, four open operatories, three closed operatories, a supply closet, a reception desk and a charting area.

Three days a week, there are seven or eight dental students who provide general dentistry under the supervision of a UCLA faculty dentist.

There are 14 chairs in the main clinic that are mainly used by third- and fourth-year UCLA dental students and senior dental hygiene students from West Los Angeles Community College. They provide basic dental care such as fillings, crowns, bridges, and cleanings. Two days a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, six to 12 dental hygienists provide dental hygiene services.

TOOTH DECAY A MAJOR CHILDHOOD PROBLEM — Tooth decay is said to be the single most common childhood disease — five times more prevalent than asthma — but it can easily be prevented.

By the third grade, tooth decay affects almost two-thirds of California’s children, 28 percent of youngsters have untreated decay and four percent need urgent dental care because of pain or infection, statistics show.

Out of 25 states recently surveyed, only Arkansas ranked below California in children’s dental health.

TWO MURALS — Keeping with Venice’s tradition as the mural capital of the world, the new wing has two colorful murals painted by Mary Tawfall.

Tawfall, who works on the dental school’s Web site, said she was grateful for the opportunity to display some of her artwork, which are her first commissioned paintings.

“I really feel fortunate that I got to do this,” she said after the opening of the clinic. “Painting murals is one of my hobbies.”

Officials at the dental school wanted colorful artwork for the Venice facility and asked if she would like to contribute.

“They knew that I liked to draw and paint,” said Tawfall, who has worked at UCLA School of Dentistry for almost three years.

The main mural, displayed on the north-facing windows of the building, depicts two hands gently scooping an abundance of animal and plant life from the sea. The windows and doors on the east, north and west sides of the building resonate on this theme, depicting ocean waves, sea birds, turtles, squid, and fish.

In addition to taking part in a community oral health fair that was part of the opening, children who attended were treated to free gifts, face painting and other family-friendly activities.

Attendees were allowed to tour the clinic and receive tips on oral care during the health fair.

The in-kind donation of the new pediatric dentistry wing was made under the auspices of the Wilson Family Foundation, Inc.

The Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center is located at 323 S. Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.