Your Contributions Make a Difference
Volunteer/Donor Profile: Lou Geissberger, DDS
If you have ever visited our San Rafael dental clinic, you know that it is not only hi-tech, but also a friendly and comfortable environment. What you may not know is that a local dentist, Dr. Lou Geissberger, was instrumental in its development.
Dr. Geissberger, who retired in 2007, cared for several generations of Marin families during his 50 year career. He began volunteering early on, conducting dental exams at the San Anselmo/Fairfax Children’s Center and Hanna Boys Center. Marc and Jeffrey, two of his four sons, went into dentistry and eventually took over his Greenbrae practice.
When he was practicing, the County of Marin had a small dental clinic in San Rafael – but it didn’t come close to meeting the needs of Marin’s low income residents. In 2008, Marin Community Clinic, in an effort to increase access to care, decided to open its own dental program.
Stepping up to the plate
Former CEO Linda Tavaszi, knowing that Dr. Geissberger had recently retired and had expertise in constructing and designing medical/dental buildings, approached him for help. He immediately stepped up to the plate, spending untold hours designing six dental operatories, a sterilization room, lab space, reception area, and waiting room.
He also donated the funds needed to purchase state-of-the-art equipment. But, he didn’t stop there.
Knowing that patients (especially children) can find the experience intimidating, he was committed to creating a home-like atmosphere, and personally hired a specialized interior designer. “We created a quiet room for the kids, hung mobile clouds from the ceiling, added carpeting as well as baffles to reduce the noise,” he explains. ”We also hung big photos of cheerful kids – all to make it more comfortable.” Later, when the dental clinics were in need, he contributed funds for televisions and carpeting for the waiting room.
Valuable input makes a difference
Today, Dr. Geissberger (now 86 years old) is a member of our Dental Advisory Committee. As a result of his valuable input, we have made improvements such as extending days and hours of operation. He and his wife Jane are regular attendees at our Summer Solstice event, and he continues to encourage dental specialists such as oral surgeons and root canal specialists to donate their services. “As a colleague of mine said, ‘You can get a real buzz when you donate your time.’”
What does he think about the Dental Program as it stands today? “The team provides outstanding care,” he says.
“Dr. Kadera, the Chief Dental Officer, has done a superb job leading the program and recruiting a team of excellent providers. And the work they do in preventive care and oral hygiene is impressive. So much of the decay and tooth pain that we see – pain that can keep children out of school – can be easily managed by education and prevention.”
Today, our Dental Clinics operate seven days a week, we have 26 dentists on our staff, and we conducted over 48,000 visits in 2016 – and the numbers continue to grow. Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Geissberger for his generosity and for making this program the success it is today!