By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
On Feb. 7 and 8, Chisholm Trail Expo Center will be the scene of an event that will draw people from across the state Oklahoma and quite possibly Kansas and the Texas panhandle as well.
Dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, medical assistants and plenty of other volunteers will set up shop in the Expo Center and spend all day giving dental exams, extractions, fillings, root canals and teeth cleanings on a first-come, first-served basis in a two-day event known as Oklahoma Mission of Mercy.
There are no eligibility or income requirements for those who are treated — they need only be in need of dental care. Organizers expect to provide free dental care to nearly 2,000 children and adults, averaging about $550 worth of treatment per patient.
It will be the fifth OKMOM event. The first OKMOM happened in 2010 at Tulsa. The following years, OKMOM was held in Oklahoma City, McAlester and Lawton.
Major sponsors are Oklahoma Dental Association, Oklahoma Dental Foundation and Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation, but additional sponsors will be needed to cover the $149,000 budget.
Local donations of about $60,000 will be needed to cover expenses.
United Way of Enid and Garfield County has given an $8,000 venture grant toward OKMOM.
Dental equipment rental will cost $35,000; supplies will cost $40,000; other equipment rental will cost $20,000; food and beverages will cost $18,000; administration of volunteers will cost $10,000; publicity will cost $8,000; lodging and transportation for ODA staff and trainers will cost $8,000; printing expenses for forms and post-operative instructions will cost $5,000; security will cost $4,000; and entertainment for patients waiting for treatment will cost $1,000.
Already donations toward OKMOM — both cash and in-kind — are being accepted. Kristen Kelly, special projects manager for ODA, said the OKMOM website, okmom .org, soon will have an online donation payment option.
“They can also donate in-kind and we ask them to fill out a form with an estimated value,” Kelly said.
Checks can be mailed to OKMOM, 317 NE 13th St., Okla. City, OK 73104. All donations are tax-deductible.
Enid dentists Tim and Chris Fagan, Erin Roberts, Jarrod Lack, Lee Tefft, Larry Kiner and Jim Mabry are among those who have volunteered at OKMOM events in the past. This time, about 200 dentists and about 100 dental students will come to Enid from all over the state.
With them will be about 100 hygienists and 50 dental hygiene students, 250 dental assistants, and 100 dental assistant students.
“We need about 1,000 volunteers to help us as well,” said Dr. Tim Fagan, the Enid dentist who currently is president of the Oklahoma Dental Association. “We like to have an escort for every patient, to help guide them through it and keep them from being overwhelmed.”
Translators, electricians, equipment movers, forklift operators, plumbers, security personnel, entertainers, emergency medical technicians, nurses, physicians, runners, clerks, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, cooks, food servers and the like will be needed.
“This is like a little community going on, so we’ll be feeding people,” Fagan said. “It’s more efficient for the staff to step into a room and eat than to leave to go eat.”
Volunteer sign-up for OKMOM will begin Oct. 15. To volunteer to help, go to okmom.org in October and sign up.
Fagan said volunteers can sign up for shifts or all day, one day or both.
“We’re spending about $160,000, but we’re providing over $1 million in dental services,” Fagan said. “That’s a pretty good return on the money.”
On the days of the event, the clinic will open to patients at 5 a.m. and patients will be admitted until the capacity for the day has been met.
“Typically we try to serve about a thousand patients a day,” Kelly said.
Often OKMOM goes on into the evening.
“When the patient comes in, they go through dental and medical triage,” Kelly said.
“Because of the number of people we’ll see, we try to identify the most urgent need the patient has and take care of that,” Fagan said.