The 2012 Mission of Mercy, cohosted by the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation and the CURE Network, posted an astounding 2,082 patient encounters in two days, June 8-9, at the Lake County Fairgrounds. This included 1,288 dental encounters.
“There is so much need in our state, and nowhere for patients to go. This is but a Band-Aid on the system, but we’re bringing it to the people who need it, and I love being a part of that,” said Mark Humenik, a Northbrook dentist who co-chaired the event with dentist Brad Barnes, of Normal.
Just like the 2010 Illinois Mission of Mercy, this year’s event brought volunteer dentists, hygienists and assistants together to deliver free dental care to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary treatment.
But new in 2012 was the partnership with the CURE Network, which added physicians, nurses and optometrists to the clinical environment. Basic medical screenings, including blood pressure readings, cholesterol checks, breast exams and PAP smears, as well as eye exams were offered on site. Eyeglasses were ground in a mobile lab also on the premises.
The Illinois State Dental Society reported 363 medical encounters and 432 vision encounters at the 2012 Mission of Mercy.
Patients and volunteers alike were in high spirits during the event. Friends Cheri, of Grayslake, and Sherrie, of Chicago, could be heard laughing in the dental triage area while they waited for their turns with the doctors.
“The people here are all phenomenal. I took the day off of work, and came up on the train. I spent the night at my friend’s house. We got up at 4:30 a.m. and left at 6 a.m. to get here,” said Sherrie, who had two extractions and received a partial before heading off to have her eyes examined.
Cheri, her host, echoed her appreciation.
“We got excellent care, and were treated with respect and dignity. My hygienist from the College of Lake County told me about this, and when I saw her here today I gave her a big hug.”
Read more feedback from patients and volunteers on the CDS Blog.
See photos from the event on the CDS Facebook Page.