Medical Volunteers Also Needed in both Washington & Oregon
(Portland, OR) MAY 18, 2020—With dental offices reopening this week in both Washington and Oregon, Portland-based nonprofit Medical Teams International (Medical Teams) is making an urgent call for volunteer dentists and dental hygienists to staff their mobile dental units, which comprise the largest free volunteer-powered mobile dental program in the nation. In addition, Medical Teams will be expanding its COVID-19 testing sites in Washington and is renewing its call for medical professionals for those as well.
“The need is urgent for more volunteer dentists and dental hygienists in both Washington and Oregon so they can replace those needing to go back to their regular practices,” said Cindy Breilh, Executive Director, US Programs. “With unemployment and lost insurance increasing, our mobile dental program is needed now more than ever so we can continue keeping the emergency rooms clear for COVID-19 and other emergency patients.”
When dental offices were closed nationwide in March, Medical Teams was designated by the Oregon Governor’s Office of Resiliency as an essential service and the nonprofit quickly began providing emergency dental services across Oregon and Washington. Since the Emergency Dental Clinics began, Medical Teams has served more than 584 patients through 73 dental clinics, a service that continues to relieve an overburdened healthcare system.
“This work is incredibly important because I think we have an access to care issue in the US and probably the world – certainly in Oregon – with people getting adequate dental care. Dental care is really important for overall well-being and health. For people who can’t afford dental care or can’t access for whatever reason, this is critically important that we help out,” said Dr. Todd Beck, a 20-year volunteer dentist with Medical Teams. “I think if every dentist gave up a certain amount of their time and talent to doing this sort of thing, that we would take a great bite out of this access to care issue, and we would help a lot of people in the process.”
In addition, Medical Teams will be expanding its COVID-19 mobile testing sites and needs medical volunteers, specifically registered nurses, to staff those on an ongoing basis.
Dental and medical professionals who can volunteer may learn more and sign-up by clicking here or going to www.medicalteams.org. In addition, media interviews are available with both dental and medical volunteers as well as with Medical Teams personnel. Please contact Morrena Villanueva at (425) 457-1150.
About Medical Teams International
Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Because every person—no matter where they are or how desperate their situation—matters. Learn more at medicalteams.org and on social media using @medicalteams. For more information and donations for Medical Teams’ work on COVID-19, please visit https://www.medicalteams.org/how-we-heal/natural-disasters/covid-19-response/