The COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve, and nonprofit organizations, especially those that facilitate access to health care, need support more than ever as they explore ways to deliver essential services to individuals safely ― and typically at an increased financial cost.
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“There are people in my community who will tell you that the Well-Being Program is probably the most important benefit they’ve received as a CDA member,” said Matthew Korn, DDS, chair of the CDA Well-Being Committee. The program assists dental community members who suffer from alcohol or chemical dependency or both.
Elisa Chavez, DDS, professor of diagnostic sciences and director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, has received the California Dental Association Foundation’s Dugoni Faculty Award for 2020.
From a young age, Matthew Mecheal, DDS, has been sure about two things: his passion for helping others and his love for dentistry. Through the years, he never lost sight of his goals or the values that were instilled in him many years ago. As an advocate for the underserved and this year’s recipient of the CDA Foundation’s Student Loan Repayment Grant, Dr. Mecheal plans to focus on his personal objective to improve the oral health of underserved communities and minimize barriers to care.
Thousands of patients and volunteers flocked to the National Orange Show Events Center at the CDA Foundation’s 16th CDA Cares volunteer dental clinic to receive and provide dental care at no cost. Dentists and dental professionals performed 10,412 procedures, including fillings, extractions and cleanings, providing $1.46 million in care to 1,626 people. The event took place Sept. 27-28 in San Bernardino for the first time.
Catherine’s dental phobia was once so severe that dental advertisements or even passing a dental office could trigger a panic attack. Worse, her debilitating phobia kept her from seeing a dentist for over 10 years. Eventually, she developed a life-threatening oral infection and lived with it for over a year and a half. “I was in pain, but I was too scared to receive care,” said Catherine, a resident of Bakersfield, Calif.
In 2010, Vanessa Franks, DDS, became the 11th recipient of the CDA Foundation’s Student Loan Repayment Grant — a flagship program that aims to offset some of the financial burden of student loan debt in exchange for a three-year commitment by recipients to care for the underserved. Describing herself as “a natural caretaker with a strong inherent motivation to enrich the lives of others,” Dr. Franks said a career in public health had been a longtime goal.
Five months after the catastrophic Camp and Woolsey wildfires tore through more than 250,000 acres in Northern and Southern California, life and work are far from routine for dentists who lost their practices or homes — or both — in the fires. But many are beginning to find some semblance of daily structure and make long-term plans with the help of their colleagues and the dental community.