Dental group hosts ‘Health Fair’ at Ron Russell

Here’s why many families, who just came for a teeth checkup, were also treated to health screenings, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood …

A good sign that the “Children’s Health Fair” has arrived – brought to outer East Portland by the Multnomah Dental Society – is the three mobile dental clinics parked outside the school.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Celebrating their having held dental and healthcare fairs around the county for three decades, the Multnomah Dental Society brought a “Children’s Health Fair” to Ron Russell Middle School, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, on February 8.

In front of the school, three large mobile dental offices were set up and seeing patients. And, inside the school’s atrium were several locations providing health screening and information.

About to fill a cavity in a mobile dental clinic is OHSU dental student Jeremy Chen, assisting Dr. Al Saber DDS.

“It’s true; this is our 30th year of holding this free annual  event,” said Multnomah Dental Society (MDS) Executive Director Lora Mattsen.

“Years ago, it started out as a dental screening opportunity, also offering advice like how kids can learn to better brush their teeth. It’s turned into a ‘health fair’, now, because we found the needs of many on our community go well beyond dental health,” Mattsen told East Portland News.

“At the baseline, our goal is to see all the children who come through here today – giving them a good dental screening,” explained Mattsen. “If they have urgent dental needs, we get them into one of the three dental vans that feature dental operatories in them. Those are able to take care of everything from cleaning, to fillings and extractions.”

These volunteers, Sophie Nauss and Jessica Lee, are representing the Portland State University Pre-Dental Organization.

To provide them with practical experience, OHSU dental students do the initial screening. While kids wait for treatment, they and their families can go around to the different health stations to learn about resources, including the Organ Health Plan, WIC, lead poison testing, fire safety information, and Lions Club vision screening.

“More than that, there are a lot of prizes, and everybody gets a free lunch!” Mattsen said.

Pausing during the fair for a photo are MDS Secretary Treasurer Deborah Struckmeier DMD, and the organization’s Executive Director, Lora Mattsen.

“We expect to see as many as 300 kids at our health fairs,” confided MDS Secretary Treasurer, and Parkrose-based dentist, Deborah Struckmeier DMD.

While most of these kids didn’t need urgent dental care, those who did – as many as 40 of them – received professional care from MDS dentists who were working in in the mobile clinics, she said.

Entertaining kids and adults as only he can is “Not Your Average Joe” Mishkin.

Scores of professionals volunteer their time and expertise, Struckmeier remarked, because, “we all live here, as well as work here; and we like to give back to our community that we serve.

“We want to make sure that the kids in our community are taken care of.”

Learn more about the Multnomah Dental Society by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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