Virginia State University’s first VSU Cares provided free dental services to 426 patients from local communities. The program, a partnership between VSU, the Virginia Dental Association Foundation’s Missions of Mercy project and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), provided nearly $203,000 in donated care. More than 400 volunteers participated, including 56 dentists, 134 dental assistants and dental students, 46 nurses and medical support staff, 21 pharmacists and pharmacy support staff and 145 non-medical volunteers.
Services rendered throughout the day included 425 fillings, 369 routine dental extractions, 150 surgical extractions, 83 cleanings and four root canals, as well as dental exams for all patients. Post-care prescriptions were written by the VCU School of Pharmacy and filled by Walgreen’s at no cost to the patients.
“Virginia State University, the Virginia Dental Association, the Missions of Mercy, along with the surrounding businesses, civic and social groups and community leaders have a lot to feel good about,” said Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance, whose district includes most of the VSU Cares service areas. “This is a project that showcased the Greater Petersburg Area at one of its finest hours; teaming together to provide a much needed service to so many with the single reward of a smile, a tear or just a thank you.”
VSU President Keith T. Miller said the event demonstrated cooperation at the most basic level. “VSU Cares was the embodiment of our Building a Better World concept. Virtually every sector of VSU was involved in the program, along with our partners from the public and professional sectors and our corporate sponsors. Because these groups worked together and more than 400 volunteers were inspired to give of their time and talents, we were able to provide these important health services to our neighbors with few other options.”
VSU raised over $40,000 in private donations from corporate partners; VSU alumni, faculty and staff; and supporters. Major corporate support was provided by HCA/John Randolph Medical Center; CIGNA; B.I. Chemicals, Inc.; Virginia Area Health Education Centers; Cardinal Health; Midlothian Rotary Club; Sheetz; Gerdau Ameristeel; Dentaquest; the Richard Bland College Rotaract Club; and the Lawrenceville, VA Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
VSU plans to make VSU Cares an annual event and hopes to add full-vision services in 2013.