- Wisconsin legislators comment on MOM, dental access
- Patient education
- How a MOM site is selected
The America’s Dentists Care Foundation launched the first Mission of Mercy in Virginia in 2000. Today, MOM events can be found nationwide. The WDA and WDA Foundation Mission of Mercy dental program has in excess of $5.8 million in donated services and treatment through more than 11,300 patient visits since 2009.
A successful MOM event focuses on:
- Providing free, critical dental care with a high priority on treating patients in pain and with infections
- Raising public awareness of the barriers to dental care faced by low-income adults and children
- Challenging patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to make viable and bipartisan “Healthy Choices” that will improve Wisconsin residents’ oral health
The Wisconsin MOM program provides care to anyone who has difficulty getting to a dentist. Those who show up for care (children and adults) and don’t have any medically- compromising condition that would prohibit them from receiving care are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
One goal of the WDA Mission of Mercy is to challenge patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to make viable and bipartisan “Healthy Choices” that will improve Wisconsin residents’ oral health.
A special invitation to tour MOM in Lake Geneva (Walworth County) in June 2013 was extended to state, local and national policymakers to help them see the human faces of Wisconsin’s dental access problem.
We’re pleased that many public officials and staff members visited and volunteered at MOM 2013 as patient ambassadors.
- Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson)
- Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn)
- Rep. Debra Kolste (D-Janesville)
- Rep. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville)
- Ms. Theresa Allen-Hubka on behalf of Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton)
- Ms. Lonna Morouney on behalf of Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton)
We extend our most sincere thanks to all who took time out of their schedules, rolled up their sleeves and helped us give brighter smiles to thousands of people.
Special thanks to these legislators, staffers and county representatives who toured the 2013 MOM clinic:
- Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva)
- Walworth County Administrator David Bretl
- Health and Human Services Board Chair and Walworth County Supervisor Jerry Grant (and wife Shirley)
- Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha)
- Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison)
- Walworth County Supervisor Tim Schiefelbein
- Ms. Kelsey Nugent on behalf of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)
Here is what two of these public officials had to say about their MOM 2013 experience:
“Mission of Mercy is an eye-opening experience for me as a legislator. It’s gratifying to see dental professionals from all over the state pitch in to help, where help is really needed.”
-State Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson area)
“This is an excellent program, and it is amazing to see what this incredible group of dentists and volunteers can do in a few short days.”
- State Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva)
An important element of the Wisconsin MOM program is patient education. Education is the most cost-effective way to reduce oral disease. A special program helps educate patients about the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventive dental care.
Beginning in 2014, individuals seeking care at WDA Mission of Mercy will have a mandatory visit to an enhanced patient education area. It will have a prominent place at the beginning of the process and will be staffed by a team of students and others dedicated to educating and encouraging patients to make changes in their lives to improve their oral health.
Patient education at MOM has three components – a questionnaire asking about at-risk behaviors, a poster area matched to each behavior and a brushing and flossing instruction area. The entire process will take patients no more than 15 minutes to complete.
They learn about the negative effects of soda, sugary beverages and tobacco products, the link between dental health and overall health, oral cancer and more. It’s a fact that personal oral health education ultimately saves money and time in the dentist office.
There are approximately 20 site-selection criteria, including:
- A strong local dental society with dentists interested in helping plan and volunteer
- Local community involvement (e.g., oral health coalition, legislators) to help with recruiting volunteers and fundraising (dollars and in-kind donations)
- A venue that can house a dental treatment project the size of MOM, along with sufficient local hotels and other housing options for 900+ volunteers, the majority of whom travel to the community
For each WDA Mission of Mercy event, funds are needed to help cover dental equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs. For every $1 in hard-dollar donations we receive, WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $6 – $8 of care.
If you or your organization would like to help us make a difference by making a tax-deductible contribution, please contact Lani Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or send your contribution to:
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360
West Allis, WI 53214
*Be sure to include Mission of Mercy in the memo line