Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dentist awarded for providing fast track to dental services for foster children

Local doctor to be honored for youth oral care programs
Eureka Reporter, May 29, 2007.

Dr. Carter Wright will be honored Wednesday with an Excellence in Public Health Award.

According to a release from the Public Health Branch of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, the PHB will hold a ceremony for Wright from 11:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Burre Dental Clinic, located at 959 Myrtle Ave., in Eureka.

Getting children into dental care is challenging, but Wright has made Open Door Community Health Systems’ dental clinics more accessible, the PHB reported.

In order to expand services, Wright increased the capacity of the Open Door dental clinics by developing “a sound reputation of excellence and hiring and retaining culturally sensitive dental professionals,” the PHB reported.

Wright created Saturday clinics and Wednesday pediatric clinics and “has continually embraced creative programs, such as the UCSF internship program, that make the Burre Dental Health Center a unique service and educational institution,” the PHB reported.

Also, the Dental Van has made a huge impact on the lives of children who live in rural isolated communities or with families who lack transportation or have limited family cohesiveness to ensure timely oral care for their children, the PHB reported.

The Dental Van provides the only dental service some children receive.

Humboldt County Foster Care children now have one of the state’s highest rates of completed dental service due to Open Door’s Foster Care Saturday Clinics.

“Approximately 90 percent of all foster care children now have completed dental services,” said Karen Krumenacker, a foster care nurse.

Lisl Moore, also a foster care nurse, said there is a sense of teamwork and a “sincere concern that these kids are getting the dental care they need” at Burre Dental Clinic.

“I recently had a foster parent call me regarding a foster teen who incurred a dental injury that happened at school and I was able to arrange for emergency dental care for the injured teen immediately,” Moore said. “The foster teen had an appointment to be seen at Burre Dental Clinic within an hour.”

Children who need urgent care, especially those who are in pain or have compounding health conditions, are getting dental care due to Open Door’s “Fast Track” process, the PHB reported, and in addition, Burre Clinic now sees children as young as 1.

The Burre Dental Clinic is seen as a good place to go for children’s dental services, the PHB reported.

Cassie Burgess, a foster care nurse, said, “Many moms have commented that it is great to have access to Medi-Cal dental services.”

Cynthia Sutcliffe, program manager of the Social Services branch, said, “Dr. Wright and the Open Door Dental Clinics are making a difference.”

The hallmark of Wright’s work is that he has made the Open Door dental clinic system a true collaborative community partner by engaging Open Door staff in the dental advisory group, foster care program and the DHHS, Public Health Branch, the PHB reported. And, he works with the other safety-net dental clinics.