Mission of Mercy
Mission of Mercy (MOM): Originating in Virginia and spreading throughout the United States, MOM dental programs have been conducted since 2000 to provide free dental services to local residents who otherwise were unable to receive dental care. A MOM program serves two purposes: to address the patients’ most pressing dental problems and relieve them of their pain; and, to bring awareness to the increasing problem of access to oral health care.
Michigan Dental Association Foundation: Established in 1998 as a charitable subsidiary of the Michigan Dental Association, the MDA Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Its mission is to improve oral health of Michigan residents through its support of projects that provide dental care for the disadvantaged while meeting the current and future needs of the dental profession. Donations to the Michigan Dental Association Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
MOM History in Michigan: The first Michigan Mission of Mercy was held in the summer of 2013 in Saginaw. There were over 1,300 patients seen between the ages of 4 -84, approximately 7,399 dental procedures delivered, which was valued at approximately $903,501.95 in care for the project. There were over 1,204 unpaid volunteers that participated in the project; 250 dentists, 130 hygienists, 185 dental assistants, 477 non-dental volunteers, and 162 dental professional students.
MOM 2014 Goal: Our goal is to treat 1,500 – 1,800 patients, adults and children. Individuals will be seen on a first come first served basis. Approximately $1,000,000 in free care is expected to be delivered. The emphasis is on basic dental care such as fillings, extractions and cleanings. Limited lab work, (i.e. treatment partials) will be offered.
MOM 2014 Location- Ferris State University: While access to care is a statewide concern, we cannot address all the areas at one event. Mecosta County and the surrounding region met all the size and geographic requirements for the MOM. As a severely underserved region, recipients of this service will benefit greatly from the Mission of Mercy.
According to the United States Census Bureau 2010 statistics, this geographic region has a higher percentage of residents living below the 15.7 % average poverty level for the State of Michigan. The percentage below poverty level for our regions is as follows: Lake 22.5%, Mecosta 23.6%, Montcalm 19.6%, Newaygo 17. 2 %, and Osceola 19.2%.
The Kids Count in Michigan Data Book 2012 reveals that 92.7% of Lake County, 60% of Mecosta County, 53.6 % of Montcalm County, 56.9% of Newaygo County, and 56% of Osceola County children received free/reduced school lunches as compared to the state of Michigan average of 48.1%. The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that the proportion of tooth decay, untreated dental disease, and immediate dental care needs are higher among children enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. (MIDCH Report 2011 – 2012: Count your Smiles Data Book).