May/June 2000

Free dental clinic at St. Joseph in Reading serves 35 children on first day

About 35 children were examined and treated on the first day of a free dental clinic created by St. Joseph Medical Center, Reading, Pa. The clinic was established to provide free care to children with serious dental diseases who come from families without insurance or the ability to pay. Nearly 30 volunteers, including seven dentists, donate their time and expertise to the clinic, and a $70,000 Mission and Mission Fund grant from Catholic Health Initiatives pays for the clinic’s supplies. The clinic, which is now in a pilot phase, is located on the St. Joseph campus and is open one Saturday morning each month. On its first day, the clinic treated children aged five to 14 with a no-show rate of less than one percent, far below the national average of 20 to 25 percent.