Meet smile maker Dr. Brian Homann of Goldie’s Place

Brian Homann “We get our patients out of pain and give them their smiles back,” says Dr. Brian Homann of the work they do at Goldie’s Place. (Photo courtesy of Brian Homann)
Dr. Brian Homann brings dental care to Chicago’s homeless community through Goldie’s Place.

Dr. Brian Homann, ’08 LAS, DDS ’12 UIC, found his niche quickly. He’s been volunteering at Goldie’s Place, the nation’s first student-run dental clinic, ever since joining the inaugural team during his first year of dental school. And he has no plans to stop.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry first partnered with Goldie’s Place to establish and staff its dental clinic in 2009. The nonprofit organization teaches life skills to homeless adults in Chicago to help them regain self-sufficiency.

According to Homann, what sets Goldie’s Place apart from many community clinics—which often provide emergency dental care only—is that it offers comprehensive care, ranging from exams and X-rays to fillings and extractions. “We get our patients out of pain and give them their smiles back, so they’re more confident during job interviews,” he says.

Homann eventually was named clinic director of Goldie’s Place. Following graduation, he also became a UIC adjunct faculty member, so he could supervise students at the clinic. Homann worked as the clinic’s staff dentist until recently, when he opened his own practice. However, he continues to serve as a faculty supervisor, volunteer clinician and board member.

His biggest accomplishment at Goldie’s was expanding its services to include dentures. “If you’re missing visible teeth, it’s hard to go to a job interview and smile, which affects confidence,” Homann says. “Initially, our basic services got people out of pain, but didn’t help them with the end goal of getting ready for employment. But dentures can literally change that person’s life.”

Homann’s passion for providing dental care to the underserved has not gone unnoticed. The UIC College of Dentistry recently honored him as the first recipient of its Young Alumnus of the Year Award. And in 2014, the Chicago Dental Society gave him its Vision Award.

But accolades aren’t what drive Homann. “These people are really looking for a way back into the working world and some stability,” he says of Goldie’s Place clientele. “We provide the help that lets them help themselves.”