Philadelphia FIGHT is pleased to announce that Dr. Kari Hexem, DMD, MPH, has been promoted to the role of Chief Clinical Officer. In her new role, Dr. Hexem will oversee the day-to-day clinical operations of all of FIGHT’s medical clinics including Jonathan Lax Treatment Center, John Bell Health Center, FIGHT Pediatric and Adolescent Health Center, and Y-HEP Adolescent and Young Adult Health Center. She will also continue FIGHT’s mission of becoming the highest quality medical home in the Greater Philadelphia area by offering medical and social support to people of all ages, income levels, LGBTQ status, and gender.
Dr. Hexem has been a member of the Philadelphia FIGHT family since 2012, beginning as an intern in the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center. During her internship, she pitched the idea of a community-based dental program for those in need, regardless of insurance status or the ability to pay. In 2015 and through FIGHT’s Federally Qualified Health Center status, she made that dream a reality. She and her team established FIGHT Family Dentistry, a dental practice that provides care equal to that which patients would receive at an academic medical health center to those with and without insurance, in a non-intimidating and accessible environment. Since its founding, Dr. Hexem has created innovative partnerships with other FIGHT programs such as Jonathan Lax, The Pediatric and Adolescent Center, and The Institute for Community Justice to ensure the hardest-to-reach Philadelphians have access to high-quality dental care.
The Philadelphia FIGHT Board of Directors is excited to work with Dr. Hexem in her new capacity. “Building something from scratch is no easy feat,” says Bishop Ernest McNear, Chairman of the FIGHT board. “We have always been inspired by Dr. Hexem’s growth mindset and her commitment to offering the best care to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable while building FIGHT Family Dentistry to what it is today. We have full confidence in her ability to expand her leadership across all of FIGHT’s clinical offices and are excited to support her in her new role.”
In 2017, Dr. Hexem was recognized with the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Emerging Leader Award. In 2020, Dr. Hexem received the Shils Fund Innovator Award. And closest to her heart, in 2022, she was awarded the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Faculty Award, which is given by students. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the co-course director of several courses, including a three-year Practice Management and Professionalism course and community health/public health dentistry courses. She is a member of the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. She attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where she graduated with Honors in Community Oral Health. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from Oregon Health Sciences University, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Reed College.