By Desiree Williams
Trinity Free Clinic began expanding its services in June, thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded by Patterson Foundation. Trinity expects to document 1,700 dental visits this year, which is a 15 percent increase, and provide more than 5,000 dental procedures, according to Executive Director Dina Ferchmin.
The Carmel-based clinic provides free medical and dental care to uninsured or under-insured families in Hamilton County. Although primarily volunteer-run, the grant will help fund the salaries of dental assistants, who assist the volunteer dentists and technicians.
“You have to have at least one staff person in order to keep continuity,” Ferchmin said. “Somebody needs to kind of tie all the loose ends after clinics are done. That critical position, that is what Patterson Foundation helps us cover.”
Patterson Foundation is the nonprofit arm of Patterson Companies Inc., a medical supply company headquartered in Saint Paul, Minn.
“As a foundation, our whole goal is really to expand dental care and make access easier for people because we believe that dental care is an absolute basic necessity,” said Lindsay Stewart, senior manager of the foundation.
The foundation has supported Trinity since 2012 with more than $52,000 in grants.
“We love the story that (the clinic) tells, and we love the fact that they can draw impact to one specific source in the clinic,” Stewart said.
Trinity also has strengthened its partnership with the IU School of Dentistry. Students work in the clinic three days per week instead of one, which Ferchmin said increases the number of patients who can be seen by 30 percent. In addition, Trinity now provides full dental care to children.
Trinity will play host to its annual Run for Wellness race Oct. 12. The 5K, 10K and 15K courses start and end at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Adult registration begins at $30.
For more, visit trinityfreeclinic.org.