A BRIEF HISTORY OF MISSION OF MERCY
Over fourteen years ago in Virginia, an association of dentists, staff and other volunteers organized and carried out what was to become known as a Mission of Mercy, or MOM. Their goal was to provide free dental care to local residents who could not otherwise afford or receive care. Since that time, there have been over 100 MOM events in 33 states using the large mobile dental clinic model. While this model had been utilized many times in under developed countries, it had not been tried here at home. Perhaps the idea was assumed to be unnecessary in a developed country like the United States. But, after more than $166 million in free care delivered to over 254,000 patients, that assumption has been proven wrong. There is tremendous need right here at home in this country, and that includes Alaska.
The Alaska Dental Society, partnering with many community donors and volunteers, hosted the fourth Alaska Mission of Mercy on April 13th – 14th, 2018. Our goals and primary focus are always:
- Provide free access to dental care while placing a high priority on patients suffering from dental infections or pain.
- Raise public awareness of the increasing difficulty low-income adults and children face in accessing critical dental care.
- Encourage low-income patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to reduce the disease burden and improve the oral health of Alaskan residents.
To help reach these goals, the Alaska Dental Society has been fortunate to be overwhelmed with community support. Pillars in Alaskan business and philanthropy are working together with our dental community to provide 2-day events that don’t pretend to solve the access to dental care problem, but intends to treat as many patients as possible. We bring people together for the common good of our community, to highlight a need for oral health which is inseparable from overall health and well-being.
To continue this success, we need new leaders to step up and take on the challenge. If you are interested, please email or call for more info.