Children’s Clinic brings in new dental director
Lynse Briney, the new oral health director at The Children's Clinic in Oak Park, checks the teeth of Gabriel Sanchez, 11, of Chicago. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:29AM
OAK PARK — Lynse Briney is the new director of oral health at the Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Children’s Clinic.
Briney was the clinic’s first-ever dental student in 2005 and later returned to work as a part-time dentist last year before she was promoted to director in October.
Briney replaces Jill Baskin, who ran the dental clinic as the director for 15 years until deciding to step down to pursue other opportunities.
Each year, the Children’s Clinic provides a comprehensive package of medical, dental and social services to more than 9,400 children under age 18 from low-income families in Cook County. The dental division sees more than 6,000 patients each year, on average.
Q: In your opinion, what’s the importance of providing a wide-range of health services to low-income youth in Cook County?
A: It’s just a wonderful place to practice dentistry. The fact that we can work with families that don’t have private insurance is rare. In the dental clinic, we’re helping the kids who have the most rampant tooth decay, but we also offer social work and medical care, so we’re helping the whole child. No matter what the situation, we find a way to help every child while providing the highest standard of care.
Q: How did you get involved with the Children’s Clinic?
A: I was a fourth-year dental student at the University of Illinois in Chicago in the spring of 2005 when I came to the clinic as a dental student. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Baskin during my externship and it turned out to be such an awesome opportunity. Dr. Baskin and I kept in touch while I did a year of residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and during the three years when I went into private practice. After I completed my post-graduate training in pediatric dentistry in June 2011, I came to work for the clinic part-time as a dentist.
Q: What are your responsibilities as clinic director?
A: I’ll be managing the day-to-day operations of the clinic while overseeing the staff and managing budgets. I’ll also be representing the clinic in coalitions and public health meetings.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to be a dentist?
A: I was actually the first person in my family to graduate from college. I always knew I wanted to be a health care professional. At first, I wanted to focus on studying to be an orthodontist, but I didn’t feel like it was a true fit for me once I entered dental school. My eyes were open to all opportunities until I finally chose dentistry.
Q: What do you like best about working with children?
A: I love working with kids because, unlike adults, who are set in their ways, kids are an open book. To be able to educate them and motivate them to have a healthy mouth for the rest of their lives is rewarding.
Q: Is Dr. Baskin planning to stay involved at the clinic in any capacity?
A: Yes, she will continue to see patients as a part-time dentist. She’s still here one day a week helping me through the transition to becoming director.
Q: Any involvement in the local community outside of the Children’s Clinic?
A: I’m vice president of the local branch of the Chicago Dental Society.
Q: What advice are you giving to your pediatric patients to maintain a healthy mouth?
A: We tell them the usual advice to brush at home twice a day and floss every day. There are also some great sites focused on oral care out there that we refer them to, like mouthhealthy.org.
Q: What do you like best about working at the Children’s Clinic?
A: It’s so rewarding. I’ve always enjoyed being around children growing up and this is an excellent opportunity to work with kids and have fun doing their dentistry.
The Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society Children’s Clinic serves children from 50 Cook County west suburban communities and Chicago. Every patient meets the federal poverty guidelines and most patients participate in the state All Kids/Medicaid Health Insurance Program.