UofL dental and dental hygiene students volunteer to help residents of Somerset and surrounding areas


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second consecutive year, University of Louisville dental and dental hygiene students and faculty will provide free dental care in southeastern Kentucky through Remote Area Medical (RAM), a non-profit organization that serves people in remote areas of the United States and around the world.

    This weekend, September 8-9, hundreds of people will line up outside of Southwestern High School in Somerset, Ky. with hopes of getting free extractions, fillings, cleanings, exams or denture repairs and relines. Medical and vision services, which include free eye exams and eye glasses, also will be offered at this RAM clinic.

    The UofL dental students have used funds from the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award to pay for professional quality LED headlamps to improve their vision and subsequent quality of the clinical care at RAM events. The UofL students won the $5,000 award in 2011 for their humanitarian outreach to underserved communities. The dental school started incremental involvement in RAM events in 2005, and became annual participants in the Pikeville, Ky., RAM clinic in 2008.

    The ADA Foundation award was created in 2003 to honor Bud Tarrson, former chief executive officer and owner of the John O. Butler Co. and an oral health philanthropist. His widow, Linda Tarrson remains involved in the project and plans to visit Somerset this weekend to meet the more than 40 UofL dental and dental hygiene students and some 36 faculty and staff volunteering their time to provide free oral health care.

    The clinic opens at 6:00 a.m. Sept. 8, and patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Lines can be long and start early in the morning. Numbers will be given out around 3:00 a.m. each day prior to the clinic opening.

    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.