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Dr. Barbara Mousel, past director of the Chicago Dental Society’s Board of Directors, at the Chicago Dental Society Foundation booth. (DTI/Photo Sierra Rendon, DTA)
Feb 27, 2013 | News USA

CDS Foundation dental clinic opens in Wheaton, Ill.

by Chicago Dental Society

CHICAGO, Ill., USA: Nearly two years after the DuPage Community Clinic shuttered its dental practice, leaving uninsured patients with few local options, the Chicago Dental Society Foundation Dental Clinic has opened just a mile down the road. The three-operatory clinic at 416 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton, will provide free basic dental care to uninsured patients from Cook, Lake and DuPage counties — the same tri-county area served by members of the Chicago Dental Society — with proof of residency and income below 200 percent of the poverty level.

“At that level, anything other than emergency room care is a luxury,” said Dr. Kevin King, one of several CDS members who have worked to open the new clinic. “There’s a significant issue with access to care at this time, and we have an opportunity to help those truly in need.”

CDS Foundation chair Milly Goldstein said the new dental clinic is the fulfillment of the foundation’s mission — but it’s only the beginning.

“The CDS Foundation made a commitment to providing access to care in our communities, and besides making grants, opening a clinic is a clear way to do that,” Goldstein said. “Our focus in the coming years will be to raise capital and create relationships with other community partners to sustain and hopefully grow the clinic and the dentistry that is provided to the community.”

Plans for a new dental clinic began in March 2011 when the DuPage Community Clinic announced plans to close its dental unit. CDS took possession of the DuPage Community Clinic’s equipment when operations ceased several months later, while dentist volunteers developed plans to open a new clinic that would provide care for the displaced patients, among others.

“At that time, we were seeing reports of a 160-percent increase in the number of working poor in DuPage County,” King said. Volunteers worked with CDS Foundation Board members and staff to establish the infrastructure required of an independent not-for-profit organization.

“With three operatories, a lab, X-ray room, reception area, business office and break room, I think it is a place the CDS membership can be proud of. Any clinician can walk in and be proud to work there,” King said.

Two paid staff members will ensure continuity within the operations. An adjacent parking lot provides ample space for volunteers and patients alike, but the clinic is also served by a Pace bus line that begins at the Wheaton Metra station.

Although the CDS Foundation has made a significant commitment to supporting clinic operations, it will also continue to make annual grants to local agencies working to improve access to dental care and education.

Goldstein complimented the volunteers who led the charge to open the clinic. “I applaud their commitment to the community,” she said. “They recognized that something is wrong, and they found a solution. It is our pleasure as a foundation to support CDS members in this way. It makes sense, it provides access to care and it’s helping us to do the right things.”

The CDS Foundation Dental Clinic is looking for volunteer dentists and hygienists to care for patients in the new clinic, as well as oral surgeons to accept referrals. All a volunteer needs, King said, is a desire to come out and help. The clinic also needs in-kind donations of supplies, as well as handpieces and small equipment.
 

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