The following projects of the Minnesota Dental Foundation helped provide care to the underserved.
Donated Dental Services
Donated Dental Services (DDS), a program of Dental Lifeline Network, provides free dental care to disabled, elderly and medically fragile individuals in private dental offices. The program also provides dental services to veterans. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019, 272 patients received $1,009,860 in comprehensive care by 439 dental volunteers at a cost of $85,000. Since the program’s inception in 2003 in Minnesota, 2,262 vulnerable adults have received $12.4 million in free care. This program has been supported by the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation since 2012. We are always looking for more dental volunteers. Contact Katie McGee, Minnesota DDS coordinator, at email@example.com,or 651-454-6290, for more information.
Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program
Photo: Funding for the Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program of the Minnesota Dental Foundation (MDF) comes from a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). These monies provide loan forgiveness funds to attract new dentists to practice in the Taconite Assistance Area (TAA) of northeastern Minnesota. Since 2009, the IRRRB has provided $990,000 to fund this program. Each new dentist must commit to practicing at least five years in a city of their choosing on “The Range.” Presenting the check to Dr. Brekke Hudelson of Hibbing is (L to R): Mike Zakula, MDF Board Member; Mark Phillips, IRRRB Commissioner; Brekke Hudelson, 2019 recipient; and Steve Litton, MDF President.
The Martha Mordini Rukavina Loan Forgiveness Program is funded by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) to help dentists pay back educational loans if they are willing to practice in the Taconite Assistance Area of northeastern Minnesota for at least five years. The recipients selected for this program each receive $30,000 for four years for a total of $120,000 as long as they comply with the program requirements. This program started in 2009 with three dentists and became a program of the Minnesota Dental Foundation in 2011. Applications are currently being accepted for 2020-2021.
Minnesota Mission of Mercy
The 2018 Minnesota Mission of Mercy will took place on September 7-8, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. At that event, 1,462 patient encounters produced 6,588 dental procedures valued at $911,759. Since the inception of this program in Minnesota in 2012, $6,016,859 in free dentistry has been provided in 9,497 patient encounters. The Minnesota Mission of Mercy provides free fillings, extractions, root canals, partials, children’s dentistry, hygiene and oral health education in a large temporary clinic.
The 2020 Minnesota Mission of Mercy has been canceled due to COVID-19. The 2021 event is being planned for July in St. Cloud.
Interested in learning more about this event? Click here.
Retired Dentists Program
The Retired Dentists Program is a project dedicated to retired dentists who are no longer earning any income from dentistry to reimburse them for their license, CPR and CE in return for providing volunteer dentistry to the underserved. Retired dentists must provide at least 100 hours per year (about one day per month) and receive no compensation for their services. The State Board of Dentistry has a program that reduces the required CE to 15 from 50 every two years and the State of Minnesota has a program that provides free professional liability insurance, if needed. Currently, there are ten retired dentists in the program. For an application, click here.
Minnesota’s Heroes Orthodontic Program
The Minnesota’s Heroes Orthodontic Program was initiated in 2015 to provide needed orthodontic care to children and spouses of Gold Star Families (families who have lost a family member to conflict while serving our country since 9/11). This program is in collaboration with Smiles Change Lives and the Minnesota Association of Orthodontists. The orthodontists provide the treatment for free and there have been no direct costs for this program. If you are aware of potential patients, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dedicated to Minnesota Dentists Loan Repayment for Service Program
The Dedicated to Minnesota Dentists Loan Repayment for Service Program provides loan repayment up to $200,000 per individual if they practice in a rural Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for five years. This program is in collaboration with the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and it provides the funding of the program. A total of ten dentists and $2 million now has been utilized to provide dental services in rural HPSA areas of Minnesota. Currently, no funding is available.
Give Kids a Smile
The Give Kids a Smile program became an event of the Minnesota Dental Association in 2003 and was transferred to the Minnesota Dental Foundation in 2016. Grants and support from HealthPartners, 3M Oral Care, the Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation contribute to the media exposure and management of the program. Since the program’s inception in Minnesota in 2003, 80,603 children have received $24.4 million worth of free dentistry by 33,000 volunteers.