SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In the coming months, a partnership of Goodwill Manasota and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM ) School of Dental Medicine will enable community members to receive dental care at a reduced cost. LECOM dental students will be at four Goodwill locations and offer free dental hygiene education, screenings, and materials to help Goodwill employees, shoppers and people who donate unwanted items to those benefiting from Goodwill’s programs and services achieve good dental practices.
According to a recent study by WalletHub, an online personal finance website, Florida ranks near the bottom – at 44 out of the 50 states – for poor dental health. Barriers to dental care include the cost as well as a scarcity of dentists in some regions, other pressing health needs, and poor oral health literacy. Additionally, language, cultural, education and ethnic barriers may compound the problem.
The goal of the partners in this effort is to provide four dental outreach events at Goodwill locations in the coming months. The first event, a health fair for veterans and their families, will include dental and medical students; this will take place on Friday, August 31, at Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program office (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The remaining events will take place at Goodwill’s Arcadia (1701 E Oak St., #B), Corporate Campus (2715 51st Ave. E., Bradenton), and Mecca (5150 N Tamiami Tr., Sarasota) locations in the upcoming months. Hours are tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each person would meet first with a LECOM student for an approximately 20-minute interview and then receive an exam, assessment and treatment recommendations.
“Data has shown conclusively that too many in our region are not receiving sufficient dental care. Poor oral health can lead to all sorts of associated health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy complications and dementia, among others,” said Shirley Parrado, Director of Outreach of LECOM. “LECOM students offer tens of thousands of hours each year to community service efforts, including providing medical care to underserved populations. We are proud to partner with Goodwill in order to provide dental care for its employees and constituents.”
“We are thrilled to be working with LECOM to help provide dental care at Goodwill locations,” said Margie Genter, vice president of mission services for Goodwill. “Not only will this be of great benefit to our own team members but it will also help others in our community who may not have sufficient access to care. Too many households are just one health care emergency away from financial crisis – if we can help prevent or catch an oral health issue early for even one community member, then this effort will have been worthwhile.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Veterans Services Program office at (941) 355-2721, ext. 451.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.
The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) is the nation’s largest medical college and, with Millcreek Community Hospital and the clinical practices of Medical Associates, forms America’s only osteopathic Academic Health Center. LECOM has seen the continued need for dentists across the nation, including Florida. It has been shown that early dental health treatment carries over into better adult health, including lower cardiac disease risk. To help alleviate that shortage, LECOM has brought much-needed dental health care to Bradenton where third-year dental students will train alongside licensed dentists. The presence of the dental office will improve the oral health status of the community by providing comprehensive care and general dentistry for all ages. LECOM’s dental office is located at 4800 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Bradenton. For more information, visit www.lecom.edu.