(PORTLAND, ORE. - Jan. 15, 2008) Nearly 1,800 more Oregonians each year will now receive urgently needed dental care thanks to a $100,000 grant given to Medical Teams International. Awarded by Providence Health Plans, the funds will help Medical Teams International’s Mobile Dental Clinic program expand its services in the Portland and Salem areas.
According to data from the Oregon Department of Human Services, between a quarter and one-third of all Oregonians do not receive annual dental care. The state’s 2007 Oregon Smile Survey reported that 25 percent of children do not have dental insurance.
“With this grant from Providence Health Plans, our dental program can now reach more underserved communities that critically need our help,” explains Steve Vickers, manager of the Mobile Dental Clinic program at Medical Teams International. “These funds enable us to recruit more dentists, provide more care and give hundreds of children—especially those in southeast Portland, Gresham and Milwaukie—a healthy smile.”
Medical Teams International Mobile Dental Program operates 10 dental vans in the Pacific Northwest, four of them in the Portland and Salem regions. Currently these four vans serve nearly 7,000 patients. The Providence grant will help volunteer dentists treat an additional 1,770 people each year and establish new clinic partners in these targeted regions.
“We know that many Oregonian families simply cannot afford dental treatment,” adds Vickers. “Parents often have to choose between buying food and taking their child to the dentist. We don’t want them to have to make that tough decision.”
Medical Teams International’s Mobile Dental Clinic program began in 1989 with just one van operating in the Portland area. Now operating in 39 counties, volunteer dental professionals aboard these 38-foot, state-of-the-art vehicles have treated more than 140,000 patients.
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 28-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,650 volunteer teams and shipped over $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.