LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than 150 University of Louisville faculty, staff, students and alumni are volunteering June 27-28 so residents in Pikeville can receive free dental and medical care.
About 500 volunteers are helping with the project at Pike County Central High School, which is part of the Remote Area Medical (RAM), a non-profit organization that serves people in remote areas of the United States and around the world.
One out-of-state volunteer, UofL dental school class of ’74 alum Bob McGuinn, took a number of steps to ensure his participation in the effort. McGuinn has a license to practice dentistry in Georgia, but not Kentucky. He applied for a Charitable Health Temporary License through the Kentucky Board of Dentistry which allows him to practice for seven days in the state.
“I wanted to be a part of the good work UofL is doing. I do a lot of international service and free clinics in Georgia – it’s important to give to those in need,” he said.
Numerous others are assisting with the dental component including Kentucky Board of Dentistry Executive Director Brian Bishop and several members of the Board, including Susan King and David Narramore. American Dental Association First Vice President Andy Elliott is also serving.
The UofL medical community will join in the effort this year with Department of Pediatrics faculty member and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Faye Jones, offering medical service to children during the two days.
“People have always been willing to go out of their way to help me, and I want to do the same for others,” Jones said.
Jones, like many other UofL faculty and staff, plans to bring family who will volunteer, assisting where needed.
This is the second year UofL’s School of Dentistry participated in the Pikeville RAM project. Last June dental students, faculty and alumni were part of a dental team that treated more than 440 people. In total, the team made 520 extractions, filled 21 cavities, made 20 sets of full and partial dentures and provided 122 cleanings. Organizers are expecting two or three times more patients than last year.
The dental effort is even larger this year, with more than 70 dental chairs, multiple radiograph units and several oral surgeons including School of Dentistry faculty member George Kushner. Dental hygiene students also plan to offer oral health education while patients wait their turn for care.
Numerous people seeking care often arrive Friday evening for the opportunity to receive healthcare on Saturday or Sunday. According to Lee Mayer, director of community dental health for the UofL School of Dentistry, the RAM event means relief from pain and possibly being saved from a potential life-threatening infection.