The Tualatin Rotary Club has invested in the health of our neighbors for over thirty years and providing dental care has been a marathon effort.
In the beginning, the Club was at the starting line providing one-time emergency dental visits. As it grew, members invested in a dental van that could reach more people and on a regular schedule. That brought efforts to the midway point of the dental care race. This year, the finish line is getting closer. Rotary has chosen the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Foundation for its signature project. Now, the community is closer than ever to full dental care thanks to this donation.
Rotary first donated funds to make humanitarian visits from U.S. doctors possible in foreign countries. People who have never had a dental visit were treated and supported in their villages and towns. Several local dentists, who are members of the Rotary Club, visited and served others in Central America, Uganda and India. Grant funds were also given to dentists in Brazil.
Then the Rotary Club joined with Medical Teams International to support a dental van that visits The Tualatin Food Pantry twice each month. Residents of our local community access the van for care and simple procedures. Rotary has invested in these visits and has provided funds for equipment needed to carry out the treatment plans.
Emergency dental visits do help many of our neighbors. The patients smile with the remediation of pain or infection. However, true dental health requires more. Tooth extraction is effective at mitigating pain, but true care requires additional effort and support.
This year, Rotary has contributed to the Oregon AGD Foundation Center, which opened just over a year ago in Tigard. This state-of-the art clinic provides facilities and support for children’s dental health programs. It will focus on providing care for underserved populations in our area, with a focus on at-risk women. The Foundation will also loan equipment to dentists for humanitarian projects around the globe. It will also train dental assistants.
This is a tremendous win in the race to save and preserve dental health. On a recent visit to the Oregon AGD Foundation Center, AGD Executive Director Laura Seurynck explained to Rotary members just what the new facility means to this community. As a dentist, it pained her to know that people right here in Tualatin were losing perfectly rooted teeth due to lack of access to dental care. Now, that outcome will not be the only solution.
The new facility provides virtually all dental procedures. There are twelve fully functioning dental care stations and a fully equipped surgical suite. Through cooperation with A-dec, an Oregon dental equipment company, the clinic is state-of-the art, with the newest and most sought-after equipment. Dental patients receive professional care and dental students have the opportunity to practice their skills.
The Tualatin Rotary Club has truly run a marathon for our community. As members look to the future, they can see more smiles, thanks to the dental work that has been done. One race to provide healthy outcomes for local residents is almost complete. But like most runners, Rotary is committed to more than one finish line. There is still the fight to eliminate Polio from the planet, Club members are invested in providing scholarships to first generation college bound Tualatin High School students, and global communities are still in need of clean drinking water. The marathons continue. The members of the Tualatin Club are relentless about serving others. Each step, each mile and each finish line brings rewards.
If you are interested in learning more about The Tualatin Rotary Club, visit tualatinrotary.org. New members are always welcome.