Thank you to all of our alumni and students who volunteered on May 18 and 19 with Mission of Mercy in Pennsylvania (MOM-n-PA). Each year, MOM-n-PA provides dental care at no cost to underserved populations in Pennsylvania. This year’s free clinic was located in Reading, PA and attracted almost 2,000 patients.
Many students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteered to provide services such as dental triage, pediatric care, and medication dispensing. The results of this year’s event included 1,642 comprehensive exams; 1,904 total patient visits with 195 return visits; 7,848 total procedures; and $950,239 in provided services.
MOM-n-PA was founded six years ago by alumni Dr. Bernie Dishler (‘62) and Dr. Bruce Terry (‘86), along with several other dentists from Pennsylvania. Temple alumnus Dr. John Reitz (‘80) is also active in MOM-n-PA’s food operations and Dr. Jay Goldberg (‘83) volunteers in the Endodontology department of the clinic.
Since 2013, MOM-n-PA has provided over $4 million worth of free dental services to underserved patients across Pennsylvania. Past locations have included Philadelphia, Allentown, and Erie, and next year’s MOM-n-PA will be held in Wilkes-Barre, PA. MOM-n-PA hopes to continue to reach their goal of serving over 1,000 patients each year.
Check out a statement from Theresa Hopkins, SFW, Community Outreach Director for the Kornberg School of Dentistry:
"As I have been participating with Mission of Mercy’s (MOM-n-PA) free dental clinics since their inception at the Liacouras Center in 2013, I must say that it is a pleasure and privilege to support and learn from the organizers and participants.
As we travel across the state, each area is different, yet the one thing that remains the same is the need. Regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, or age, oral health care in the state of Pennsylvania is still a great need and considered a luxury for most.
In a society that is becoming more focused on the thought, “What’s in it for me?” it rejuvenates me to see groups of dental and non-dental professionals come together for one weekend each year to help those in need. The very long hours and the amount of labor involved from set up to break down all provide a sense of gratitude and accomplishment when I hear the heartfelt “Thank You” from patients. Some patients even provide small monetary donations, which may have been their last.
A patient's tears, true appreciation, traveling hours to get services, joy of receiving new dentures, end of being in pain, and finally being able to smile are what MOM-n-PA is about."