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Mercy Foundation hosts blessing of newest mobile dental clinic

Mercy Foundation hosts blessing of newest mobile dental clinic


Contact: Maraline Kubik
Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley (330) 729.3805

Feb. 13, 2020 (YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley and Mercy Health Youngstown hosted a blessing of the latest addition to their fleet of mobile dental clinics before the van was put into service earlier this month.

The $450,000 unit is the newest of three mobile dental clinics. It will officially replace the first mobile dental clinic, a 19-year-old medical van retrofitted to provide dental services.

The new mobile dental clinic features two treatment areas, one that will be used for routine preventive care such as cleanings, the other for more complex procedures such as extractions and root canals. It will increase capacity of the mobile dental fleet by up to 25%, reports M. Frank Beck, D.D.S., director of the St. Elizabeth Dental Clinic and residency programs. Last year, Beck says, the mobile dental clinics collectively served almost 1,700 patients at more than 125 different locations. “This year, with the new unit, we expect to serve somewhere around 2,000 or 2,100 individuals,” he says.

“Expanding access to dental care and our capacity to care for more patients is extremely important,” says Paul Homick Jr., president, Mercy Health Foundation MV. “Access to dental care is an ongoing problem in our community. It is consistently identified as an unmet need by our community health needs assessment and in many instances is identified as the No. 1 unmet need.”

Accessing adequate dental care is not just a problem because people don’t have insurance, but because those in need of care lack transportation or can’t arrange enough time in their schedules for an appointment, Homick explains. “Our mission, established by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, is to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially those who are poor, dying and underserved. Helping to provide dental care to more of those in need certainly aligns with that, and this new mobile unit brings care to the doorstep of those who need it most.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that there is a very strong connection between poor oral health and other health issues such as heart disease and opioid addiction,” Beck continues. Studies show that individuals with gum disease are at greater risk of heart attack, and acute dental pain -- sometimes treated in emergency rooms with opioids -- can serve as a gateway to addiction, especially if the underlying cause

of the pain is not treated, he explains. “Ensuring access to adequate dental care helps alleviate some of these other issues and this new mobile dental clinic is one of the ways we are doing that.”

A dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant and driver who doubles as the front office staff are attached to each of the mobile dental clinics.

The mobile dental clinics visit schools, health fairs, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, senior centers, primary care offices, daycare centers, libraries, detention centers, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community centers throughout Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Carroll counties.

The new mobile dental clinic is possible because of generous support provided by Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, the Kikel Trust, the John D. Finnegan Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation.

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Photo caption:

Father Chidiebere Ogbuagu, a chaplain at Mercy Heath Youngstown, M. Frank Beck, D.D.S., director of the St. Elizabeth Dental Clinic and residency programs, Paul Homick, president, Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, and Kathleen Harley, president, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, take part in blessing one of the treatment areas inside the new mobile dental clinic.


About Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley and Mercy Health Youngstown

Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley is the philanthropic arm of Mercy Health Youngstown, an integrated health system in the Mahoning Valley. It encompasses the Youngstown/Warren metropolitan area Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio. It is part of Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the five largest Catholic health systems in the United States. Mercy Health Youngstown provides a full spectrum of healthcare services: acute inpatient and trauma, outpatient and ambulatory, rehabilitation, behavioral, emergency and urgent care, primary care physicians in patient-centered medical homes, specialist physician care, home health, home medical equipment, long-term care and hospice care. Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley supports a myriad of in-patient, out- patient and preventative services while eliminating barriers to care and ensuring access to anyone in need. Learn more at

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