Virginia Dental Foundation gears up for Mission of Mercy clinic

Mike Still • Jul 10, 2019 at 1:13 PM

WISE — The Virginia Dental Foundation and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise are preparing for the 20th annual Mission of Mercy free dental clinic Friday and Saturday.

VDF spokesperson Tara Quinn said Tuesday that 953 patients came to the 2018 clinic — the first one held separately from the annual summer Remote Area Medical Clinic at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Mission of Mercy began working with RAM in 2000.

“In addition to dire economic and social challenges, many of our neighbors in Southwest Virginia struggle with little or no access to oral health care,” said Quinn. “Poor oral health is linked to chronic disease, childhood illnesses, and even lost school and work hours. We are honored to have served our neighbors in the Wise County area for 20 years now and are grateful to UVa-Wise and the many volunteers that power the MOM program.”

In addition to VDF, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry and the Virginia Dental Association help support Mission of Mercy each year.

Quinn said having MOM at the college’s David J. Prior Convocation Center has helped provide more comfortable conditions for patients.

Clinic volunteers will begin setting up equipment Wednesday in preparation for the clinic. At noon Thursday, MOM staff and volunteers will start a pre-registration and triage for patients coming to the Friday clinic. Patients at the triage will be admitted to Friday’s clinic starting at 6 a.m., with other patients admitted at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The clinic will operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the two days. In addition to dental care, volunteers will provide a variety of health education and counseling services.

Quinn said patients should bring their medication list, snacks and drinks and wear comfortable clothing when they come to the clinic. Overnight parking before each day of the event will not be permitted on the UVa-Wise campus.

More than 400 dentists, professionals and volunteers supported last year’s clinic, and Quinn said the foundation expects plenty of patients this weekend even with the event shortened from three to two days.

For more information and updates on the Wise clinic, check online at https://www.vdaf.org/wisemom.html.

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