Bulletin of Dental Education

UNE-CDM Participates in Statewide Dentists Who Care for ME Event

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Once a year University of New England College of Dental Medicine (UNE-CDM) students and support staff offer free dental care to those who do not have insurance and cannot afford treatment as part of the statewide  event.

“UNE supports the community as a general rule,” explains Melissa Victory, C.D.A., UNE-CDM’s Assistant Director of Patient Services. “We feel this is a great way to give back by providing some free dental care for people who need it and who otherwise cannot afford it.”

UNE-CDM’s students volunteer their time to provide teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions under the supervision of faculty members.

“We are just giving back to the community,” shares Emily Floyd (Dental Medicine, ’20). “The Oral Health Center is an awesome place to receive care. All the students here are more than happy to give that care, and we get full hands-on learning while providing it.”

UNE-CDM partnered with the Maine Dental Association (MDA) for the event.  “I am so grateful for UNE’s participation,” commented Angela Westhoff, M.A., MDA’s Executive Director. “The students are fabulous. I want to thank all of the administration and volunteers who make it happen.” 

UNE-CDM students provided care for 150 patients valued at more than $25,000 at this year’s event. 

“Our hope is when our students graduate they will go out into the community and continue to participate in this free dental event, whether they have their own practice or are in a group practice,” says Kimberly Soulard, C.D.A., UNE-CDM’s Assistant Director of Clinical Affairs. 

Dentists Who Care for ME has helped more than 4,000 patients and provided services valued at over $1.2 million since its inception.

“Many of us are right in the middle of wanting and needing the care but don't have the insurance for it,” says patient Mary Rena. “Some folks will put it off; some people will not have it at all. This event is a real gift.”

Maine has traditionally had a shortage of dentists. UNE-CDM is working to ease the shortage. Of the 63 students who graduated in 2018, 35 remained in New England, with 18 staying in Maine. The program also sends students on 12-week “externship” programs to help dentists in rural locations in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.

“This free day program fits into our mission of bringing access to care to patients,” says Fields Farrior, D.M.D., M.S., Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Patient Care at UNE-CDM.

Courtesy of Chris Rose, Public Relations Strategist, University of New England

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