May 10, 2013
From Bulletin staff reporters:
The Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation will receive a grant of $245,000 over two years from The Harvest Foundation to use toward operating the Community Dental Clinic in uptown Martinsville.
The clinic provides basic dental care to low-income, uninsured and unemployed adults and children eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Last year, the clinic provided more than $1 million worth of dental services to people during almost 5,000 visits, according to Harvest statistics.
Gladys Hairston, a Harvest program associate, said the clinic has become an essential service to Martinsville and Henry County.
“This grant from The Harvest Foundation will help us increase our capacity to continue to meet the dental needs in our community,” said Dr. Mark Crabtree, president of the dental health foundation.
Specifically, the grant will enable the clinic to hire an associate director who will help with fundraising, Crabtree said. Remaining money will be put toward other clinic operating expenses, he said.
He said the clinic has received Harvest grants regularly since it opened in 2006. However, he could not recall exactly how much has been received.
The clinic also provides real-life, hands-on experience for student dentists and hygienists from Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Western Community College. The students are taught under the guidance of Dr. Risa Odum, the clinic’s full-time dentist, as well as Crabtree and many other local dentists who volunteer their services.
Hairston said the clinic helps meet two Harvest priorities — improving health care to people underserved by mainstream providers and improving academic offerings for students.She noted that state Health Commissioner Karen Remley has described the clinic as being “one of the most state-of-the-art dental clinics” in Virginia.
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