UofL School of Dentistry expands its outreach to southeastern Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nearly 40 University of Louisville dental and dental hygiene students will help provide free dental care Sept. 17-18 to people in and around Somerset, Ky. through Remote Area Medical (RAM), a non-profit organization that serves people in remote areas of the United States and around the world.
With good roads leading to Somerset and its central location, organizers anticipate a large turn-out.
This is the first RAM clinic in Somerset.
“The economic outlook is still bleak,” said Greg Bentley, DMD, RAM Ky clinic director and UofL alum. “Patients have been calling the last few months to inquire about this clinic.”
The dental school faculty and students will help provide free extractions, fillings, and cleanings at the clinic located at Southern Middle School, 200 Enterprise Dr., in Somerset. Patients also will be able to receive free vision care and a variety of medical exams, including screenings for cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
This is the second major commitment by the UofL dental school to offer assistance at a RAM clinic in Kentucky. For each of the past four years, the school’s faculty and students have provided free dental care at the Pikeville RAM clinic. In June of this year, they helped nearly 400 patients - performing 974 extractions, 348 fillings and 164 cleanings over a two-day period.
“The dental school is making a difference throughout the state as we fulfill our mission of community engagement,” said John Sauk, DDS, MS, dean, UofL School of Dentistry. “The students gain so much from these RAM experiences – including an understanding of barriers to oral health care.”
In addition to faculty, staff and students, UofL will have a presence through many dental school alumni - including Somerset dentist Steve Hieronymus, DMD - the clinic coordinator.
“After witnessing the success of the Pikeville RAM event and understanding how many people were able to receive the help they needed, I thought it was important to have a similar event in Somerset,” Hieronymus said.
The event is being hosted by the Somerset Pulaski Co. Morning Rotary Club, where Hieronymus is a member.
RAM organizers are encouraging patients to arrive early. Some patients may begin arriving as early as 10:00 p.m. Friday evening to camp out in their cars in order to be among the first in line when the clinic opens at 6a.m. Saturday. Patients will be seen on a first come, first served basis.