If this message is not displaying correctly, click here to launch in your browser.
  WDA Healthy Choices E-Lert  
June 24, 2011 | Legislative E-Newsletter

Greetings from Mission of Mercy!

This "breaking news" Healthy Choices E-Lert is coming to you from the Wisconsin Dental Association and the WDA Foundation's third Mission of Mercy near Wausau.

Clinic floor
The Greenheck Field House near Wausau is transformed into a large-scale
dental clinic.

By the time this two-day event closes at 5 p.m. Saturday, roughly 2,000 children and adults will have received approximately $1 million in free care from more than 1,000 volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and Marquette University School of Dentistry students.

MOM is an incredible real-life illustration of the urgent need for Wisconsin to make "Healthy Choices" to remove barriers to oral health care for its citizens.

We were pleased to greet public officials who visited MOM today, and we're looking forward to hosting more on Saturday. If you'd like to visit but have not yet registered, there's still time - just let WDA Government Services Director Mara Brooks know. Walking the MOM floor, witnessing the activity and talking with patients and volunteers is a moving and eye-opening experience.


In their own words:
Stories from patients and volunteers

Patient Video  
Corey, who has suffered from dental problems and pain for more than 12 years, traveled nine hours by moped to reach Mission of Mercy. He's hoping to be able to smile in his wedding pictures when he gets married next fall.
Volunteer Video  
The Nenns - Dr. Conrad, dental hygienist Kasey and their daughter, Courtney, a Spanish teacher - have volunteered at MOM for the past three years. The Nenns had their own practice in Wild Rose for more than 25 years and have a long history of treating people in need.


Legislator Q&A:
What did you learn by visiting this year's Mission of Mercy?

State Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau
"It's really overwhelming. It's hard to take in everything at once. There's so much great work being done here. You can see there's a lot of people in need and that their needs are being met. I've heard from the dentists that there's been a lot of gratitude expressed."

State Rep. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon
"I think this is a great event for central Wisconsin. At a time when our economy is struggling and there are parents who really don't have the funds to take care of the dental needs of their children. I think this is really an opportunity for all the residents here."

State Rep. Donna Seidel, D-Wausau
"It's such an incredible operation. It's an emotional event when you see the needs of hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people who do not have access to this kind of care getting the treatment that they're desperate for. I'm so proud of the Wausau community and I'm so proud of the dental community for bringing their skills and abilities to help so many people in desperate need. What it does, we know, is not solve the problem but it highlights the great need, the desperate situation that we’re really in to help so many of these people."


Special Olympians receive care

Mission of Mercy's Friday patients included an expected 23 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes. Three volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants offered to treat the Special Olympians, many of whom have additional medical considerations. The athletes are ages 21 - 50 and were screened for urgent dental needs at recent Special Olympics Wisconsin competitions.

Special Olympians

The WDA is piloting this outreach to special-needs patients at the request of America's Dentists Care Foundation. Special Olympics' Healthy Athletes program provides free health screenings to people with intellectual disabilities. This includes Special Smiles oral health screenings at events three to four times a year, although obtaining follow-up dental treatment can be difficult for the athletes.

"We are ecstatic to partner with the WDA on this new venture as our athletes' oral health is a very important part of the successes they reach on and off the playing field," said Special Olympics Wisconsin's Director of Athlete Wellness Melissa Schoenbrodt.

The WDA Mission of Mercy is proud to be part of this new cooperative effort to help provide needed care to these special patients.


A message from the WDA MOM program chair:
Charity care is a stop-gap measure of help

Mission of Mercy is a tremendous program that helps thousands of individuals and families every year, and it's just one of many ways that dentists serve and make a difference.

Dr. Jim Morgenroth
Dr. Jim Morgenroth on the MOM floor.

Wisconsin dentists provide, on average, $10,000 - $12,000 in charity care yearly in their private practices. This is in addition to the time, resources and funding we donate to events like MOM, Give Kids a Smile®, the WDA Foundation's Donated Dental Services program or the state's dental Medicaid program.

Charity care events like these, however, are a huge administrative undertaking, very expensive and an inefficient way to deliver dental care. These stop-gap measures only help to get people out of immediate pain and infection, while raising awareness about the importance of oral health to overall well-being and the need to prioritize dental care in our state. They are important, but not long-term, permanent solutions.

The WDA is committed to working with policy leaders to permanently remove barriers to dental care and improve oral health - and overall health - in our state. That's why we've identified positive, viable "Healthy Choices" to expand access to oral health care for state residents. We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively to make these "Healthy Choices" a reality and ensure every Wisconsinite receives the comprehensive dental care needed to live a fulfilling life.

My colleagues and I are proud to be part of the Mission of Mercy. But we look forward to the day that it's no longer necessary, because every Wisconsinite receives the comprehensive dental care they need to live healthy lives.

Dr. Jim Morgenroth is a general dentist in Brookfield, Wis. and 2011 WDA Mission of Mercy program chair.


Mission of Mercy photo gallery: Day 1

  See more photos from the first days of WDA Mission of Mercy


In this Issue
By the Numbers

Estimated totals as of 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24

1 day

950 patient visits

$475,000 in care provided

1,000+ volunteers (2 days)


Messages left by patients on the MOM thank you wall

"I'm so thankful that people have it in their heart to do this work for people who can't afford it. I start to well up in tears when I see these people selflessly giving of their time."

- Harry from Sheboygan Falls (first patient in line)

"God bless you."

- Richard from Green Bay

"Paying for dental care out-of-pocket is beyond my means. This program is a Godsend for me."

- Steve from Mosinee

"Thank you all very much. This is an amazing thing you’re doing!"

- Abby from Madison

"Thank you, thank you, I wanna smile!"

- Shelley from Weston

Volunteers read patient comments on the "thank you" wall.
MOM Leadership

State Program Chair
Jim Morgenroth, DDS

State Program Vice Chair
Thomas Raimann, DDS
Hales Corners

Local Committee Chair
Julie Fox, DDS

Executive Director
Mark Paget

MOM Program Coordinator
Lani Becker

Director of Government Services
Mara Brooks

Contract Lobbyist
Peter Christianson
DeWitt Ross & Stevens, S.C.

Contract Lobbyist
Forbes McIntosh
Government Policy Solutions

About Mission of Mercy in Wisconsin

Why a Mission of Mercy in Wisconsin?

Get people out of pain

Raise public awareness about barriers to dental care

Work with policymakers to improve oral health for everyone in Wisconsin

Before today, WDA Mission of Mercy events in La Crosse (2009) and Sheboygan (2010) provided $1.8 million in free dental care to 3,500 people.

Next year, MOM will be in Madison, June 29 - 30. We look forward to seeing you there as a volunteer or touring as an elected official.


Executive Office: 6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360, West Allis, WI 53214 | 414-276-4520
Legislative Office: 10 East Doty, Suite 509, Madison, WI 53703 | 608-250-3442
Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

If you do not wish to receive future Healthy Choices E-Lert messages from the WDA, send e-mail to evaladez@wda.org