For the past 5 summers the IRH’s Mobile Dental Unit (MDU) has travelled to Whitley City, Kentucky to provide dental services to the residents of McCreary County. The IRH partners with the medical clinic at the McCreary Christian Care Center and it is the patients of that clinic who are treated on the MDU. The McCreary Christian Center (MCC) was started in 1980. The free services offered to the community are greatly needed due to the high poverty rate in the county. McCreary County is one of the 20 poorest counties in the U.S. Funding for the MCC comes from donations from local businesses, churches, individuals, and small grants. The MCC houses two outreach programs, a free medical clinic and a food pantry, both of which are run by a dedicated staff of volunteers.
The first two years the MDU went to McCreary County, the dental unit was staffed only by the IRH dental team (Daniel Carter, DMD and Bonny Petty, RDH), however in subsequent years the program has become a collaboration between WKU and two other state schools, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. Dr. Kelly Dingrando is a faculty member at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and works with the IRH dental team each year in McCreary County. Additionally, a dental student from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry who was doing her clinical externship with the IRH participated in the program in 2012.
From 2009 through the latest visit to McCreary County in June of 2013, the MDU has been able to treat just under 200 patients. Over the past 5 years the MDU has provided 174 dental exams/oral cancer screenings, 40 cleanings/fluoride treatments, 81 fillings and 114 extractions to the patients of the McCreary Christian Center. The IRH looks forward to continuing this collaborative project for many more years to come.