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New UK Mobile Dental Van Will Serve Central Kentucky Children 

Students from Russell Elementary in Fayette County pose with Ronald McDonald during the unveiling of the new mobile dental van.

LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 20, 2001) -- Central Kentucky children now will have more access to dental care due to collaboration between Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass and the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. 

On Nov. 19, the two groups unveiled a new comprehensive mobile dental van, valued at more than $300,000, that will be staffed five days a week by UK College of Dentistry faculty, residents and students, providing care to children at high risk for dental disease.  On designated Saturdays, the van also will travel to area McDonald’s Restaurant parking lots and volunteer dentists will provide dental services.

The dental van, which features three treatment bays, was made possible with a grant from Ronald McDonald Charities of the Bluegrass, and additional funding from the National Ronald McDonald Charities, ADEC, and the Honorary Order of the Kentucky Colonels.

Services are scheduled to begin at the first site in early December at Russell Elementary in Lexington. College professor, residents and students will provide dental screenings and preventive treatment to students.

The UK College of Dentistry has been a leader in treating children via mobile units since the 1980s, said Leon Assael, D.M.D., dean of the College.  “This collaboration is another step in making a change that will benefit our children’s future and the future of the Commonwealth.”

A 2001 Kentucky children’s oral health survey indicated that 57 percent of third and sixth graders had tooth decay or fillings and 31 percent needed treatment, said M. Raynor Mullins, D.M.D., director of the public service program at the UK College of Dentistry. “Both statistics are two times the national average.”

Both UK and the Ronald McDonald House have a history of serving children and families from throughout the state, said Cindy Derer, D.M.D., a UK College of Dentistry alumna and president of the local Ronald McDonald House Charities Board of Directors.  “With the van, we wanted to do something to specifically benefit our local children.”

Kristi Lopez

Comments to Betsy Hall, Last Modified: October 14, 2003
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