The morning of April 18, a very large, well-equipped van pull into the parking lot of the St John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Kirkland. The Medical Teams International (MTI) mobile dental van provides free urgent dental care including hygienists cleaning. The program is aimed at low income persons in the community over the age of 18. Patients are screened for need, urgency and income level. Space was limited and appointments were necessary.
This project was coordinated by Kiwanis Club of Kirkland members Dennis Welch, Jeff Parrish and Sharon Hoglund who started working with MTI last December. The cost of the MTI Dental Van is $1200 per location and was sponsored by the Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation and St. John’s Church, each donating $600. Welsh, a retired Kirkland dentist, was the dentist on staff along with hygienist Cheryl Gould, who he worked with at his office. The MTI program supplied an assistant for Welch and the van was fully equipped with everything they needed to do filings, extractions and dental cleanings. The dental van has two separate offices at either end of the van. It can accommodate two dentists or a one dentist and one hygienist.
The schedule was full for the day, thanks to Sharon Hoglund who acted as Patient Coordinator and “dental scout”. She contacted several organizations in Kirkland to let them know about the free services as well as putting up posters. She was able to get the word out to those who needed help with their dental care and no means to pay. They served nine patients in the six-hour timeframe in which they had to work. According to Ms. Hoglund, there were 12 people waitlisted. There are plans to bring the mobile dental van back to St. John’s in late August and the team is planning to have it in Kirkland three times a year.
If you would like more information about Medical Teams International, check out their website at www.medicalteams.org. A big thanks goes out to St. John’s Episcopal Church (www.stjohnskirkland.org ) for providing space in their parking lot for the dental van and for use of their office to coordinate patients. A joint effort with MTI, St John’s Episcopal Church and the Kirkland Kiwanis Foundation (www.kirklandkiwanisfoundation.org) made it possible for these low income Kirkland residents to get the dental care they needed. There were plenty of smiles at the end of the day!