Sandra Barry and Rhonda Selvin, residents of the Boothbay area, and others connected to the area, Dr. Janet Campbell, Dr. Clarice Yentsch and Dr. Wallace Smith, volunteer dental consultant; along with Anne Ritchie of Freeport, have joined a three-year effort to bring quality dentistry to the Florida Keys.
The Waypoint Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate creativity through education, exposure, and collaboration, spearheaded the effort by forming a collaborative partnership with the Florida Keys Area Health and Education Center (FKAHEC), to raising funds to purchase a Mobile Dental Clinic (MDC) to provide dental care to underprivileged children in the Florida Keys. This state-of-the-art, two-chair facility will help revolutionize care for families who desperately need this lifesaving care.
Like many other communities across the United States, the Florida Keys is a mecca that attracts tourists from around the world to its sunny beaches and laid-back lifestyle. The average tourist does not see the great disparity between holidaymakers and the working class with very minimal incomes, for whom acceptable accommodation is almost impossible and health care including dentistry is marginal.
Rhonda C. Selvin, APRN, FNP-C, QTTP, addressed the Foundation in a preface to the booklet “SmileMaker for the Florida Keys,” authored by Wallace Smith and Clarice Yentsch: Health Status: Loss of Self-Esteem self, isolation, malnutrition, obesity, sleep disorders, pain and substance abuse.
The Foundation, led by Christine Golia, President, Janet Campbell, Secretary, and Michelle Clauson, Treasurer, raised initial funding through personal contributions, a grant from the Keys Arts Council, a $50,000 matching grant from the Ocean Reef Community Foundation in Key Largo, and grants from Baptist Health of South Florida and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Officers’ Foundation.
The MDC, purchased from Mission Mobile Medical Group of Greensboro, North Carolina, arrived in the Keys in early December. Three ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held at elementary schools in Key Largo, Marathon and Key West, January 4-6. A bilingual dentist has been hired by AHEC and appointments are being scheduled at Monroe County schools. Complete dental care began on January 10.