Contributed by Michelle McGregor, R.D.H., B.S., M.Ed., director of community and collaborative partnerships at VCU School of Dentistry

With the support of the Virginia Dental Association Foundation (VDAF), two Mini Missions of Mercy (MoM) projects took place March 24-26, 2022.  One project was at the Chesapeake Care Clinic in Chesapeake, Va., and the other was at the Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Center in Abingdon, Va.

Abingdon Mini MoM

Fourth-year dental hygiene (DH4) and fourth-year dental students (D4) assisted the amazing team at Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Clinic (AHCDC) in relieving pain for many in the Abingdon community. Over the course of two days, the team attended to 124 patients and performed more than 500 extractions. Most of those that were edentulous following extractions were scheduled for one of the free denture clinics taking place in June and October.

This project was a success thanks to so many people, including Elaine Smith, executive director, and Dr. Alouf, Dr. Miller, and Dr. Hollyfield from AHCDC; residents at Johnston Memorial Hospital; volunteer staff; the many professionals who assisted; and, of course, the VDAF.

“The Abingdon MOM project turned out to be an awesome success! With the help of an incredible team, the project helped extract hundreds of teeth relieving patients of pain and providing them with the care they deserved. It was a great kick-off to the projects to follow, we are all so excited to be back!” said Katlyn Hardy, DH4 at VCU School of Dentistry.

Group picture of volunteers and staff members who participated in the Mini MoM project in Abingdon, Va.
Back row: Dr. Scott Miller, Bryan Scalf D4, Daniel Chun D4, Ali Alhaddad D4, Class of 2021 graduate Jacob Shelbourne, Faisal Shakir D4, Amr Khatib D4, Dr. Stephen Alouf. Front row: Catherine Malone D4, Michelle McGregor VCU Faculty, Kristin Smith DH4, Katlyn Hardy DH4, Dr. Hollyfield, Sarah Holden Class of 2021, Benjamin Mavelli Class of 2021

Chesapeake Mini MoM

In Chesapeake, Va., VCU dental students and volunteer dentists provided approximately 217 free extractions as well as oral exams including oral cancer screenings at the Chesapeake Care Clinic. The value of care provided was estimated to be worth $53,210.

Chesapeake Care Clinic is a senior rotation site for dental students in the Service-Learning course at VCU School of Dentistry, and dental hygiene students will be joining the rotation for the 2022-2023 academic year. This was the first MoM project at the clinic, thanks to Executive Director Dourina Petersen, Dental Director Dr. Peter Adams, volunteer staff and professionals and the support of the VDAF.

“I believe that it is our ethical duty to help each other. I am passionate about the health field in general and bettering people’s lives. Every day, I feel a bigger responsibility to help others in any way that I can,” said Saleh Smadi, D3 at VCU School of Dentistry. “Being able to give back to my community is an opportunity to which I cannot say no. When I saw people coming with pain and leaving with smiles while saying we are angels, I felt so honored and happy that I could help and be part of this amazing event.”

Group picture of volunteers and staff members who participated in the Mini MoM project in Chesapeake, Va.
Back row: Braden Putich D4, Poula Hanna D4, Saleh Smadi D3, Alex Lam D3, Ali Husain D3, Marko Ilikj D3, Dr. Asigri, Dr. Adams, Front row: Carrington Baily D3, Sarah Short D3, Tiffany Duong D3, Caitlin Harrah D4

Thanks to our MoM coordinators

Finally, I’d like to give a huge thank you to our graduating MoM coordinators. Without them, these projects would not happen. Despite limited events in academic year 2021-2022, they spent many hours planning, organizing, moving equipment and unpacking/packing trucks. We wish them well on their future endeavors and know that they will continue to serve and make a positive impact in their communities.

Collage of pictures and names of graduating MoM coordinators.

With much gratitude,

Michelle McGregor, R.D.H., B.S., M.Ed.
Director of Community and Collaborative Partnerships
VCU School of Dentistry

Categories Schoolwide News