• Student dentists aim to fill veterans’ dental coverage gap

    Posted Aug 22nd, 2012 By in News With | No Comments

    http://www.lvrj.com/view/student-dentists-aim-to-fill-veterans-dental-coverage-gap-135909228.html

    The sound of a trumpet blaring over the loudspeaker is the first clue that this is not a regular clinic day at the UNLV School of Dental Medicine.

    The waiting crowd comes to attention when the national anthem follows. This is the Sergeant Clint Ferrin Dental Clinic, 1001 Shadow Lane, founded in 2008 by John Ferrin, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, dental school graduate, in memory of his brother, Sgt. 1st Class Clint Ferrin, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004.

    Todd Davis, 27, president of the student-run organization, says most people “assume that those who have served in the military are taken care of by the Veterans Administration,” but he added that “the majority are not able to receive dental benefits.”

    Nevada ranks in the top five nationally of veterans per capita, according to the Nevada Office of Veterans Services 2008 Legislative Summit report. One in nine residents is a veteran, but the state ranks 48th nationally in benefits to veterans.

    The clinic operates one Saturday each month. It is completely student-run and supervised by members of a licensed dental faculty who volunteer their time.

    During the four-hour clinic, about 45 patients are seen by the student doctor volunteers, providing a full range of dental procedures, root canals and tooth extractions.

    “We have about 500 people on the waiting list now, and we tell them it will be six to 12 months before we can see them,” Davis said.

    Combat veterans and veterans in pain are moved to the top of the list.

    Ray Borders, a U.S. Air Force sergeant photographer who served 67 combat missions in Vietnam, has been without teeth since 2006. The VA pulled his remaining teeth before his open-heart surgery, and because he was listed as only 50 percent disabled, he was deemed ineligible for dental benefits to replace his teeth. He jokes that even though he has “tough gums,” when he eats corn on the cob, “it just rolls around in my mouth, and then I swallow it.”

    His student doctor, Chris Capua, a member of the Nevada National Guard, said he is honored to work with Borders.

    Under the supervision of oral surgeon Richard Hamilton, Capua performed a surgical removal of excess bone to produce a better-fitting denture.

    After 9/11, Hamilton sold his longtime Las Vegas oral surgery practice and went back into active service as a decorated captain in the U.S. Navy. Now retired, he teaches part-time at the dental school and has volunteered at every Ferrin Clinic session since its inception.

    Hamilton has a deep knowledge of military history. He knows the patients in the clinic and can tell each of his stories. Hamilton and fellow instructor Dr. Andrew Ingel agree that the students learn much from the veterans.

    Most of the patients are “medically compromised,” Hamilton said, and the students gain valuable experience from this endeavor.

    Ingel said, “This clinic is really an important part of their education.”

    Walter Bellard, 61, a Purple Heart recipient, was dumbfounded when he was told that after his bottom teeth are pulled, he will have dentures made free. He joked that he hasn’t had to buy a mask on Halloween because of his missing teeth.

    When informed by Davis that the Ferrin Clinic would cover the expense of his new teeth, he questioned how that could happen. Davis explained that the clinic pursues grants, holds fundraising events, accepts donations and has community partners that donate services. Bellard called it “a blessing.”

    Borders echoed that sentiment. “We all come in here in a variety of shapes and sizes,” he said, and the students “really care.” When asked how he would rate his experience at the clinic, he said the students are “learning step by step,” and his care has been “excellent.”

    The clinic was awarded the 2009 Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award by the American Dental Association in recognition of its outreach program.

    Davis said he hopes other dental schools develop their own version of the Ferrin Clinic “to provide those who have served our country with a means to address their oral health care needs. We believe they deserve this service.”

    To become a patient, to donate or to learn more about this 501(c)(3) organization, visit veteransdentistry.org.

  • UNLV School of Dental Medicine Receives ADAF Tarrson Access Award

    Posted Jan 27th, 2011 By in News With | No Comments

    http://www.ada.org/news/3506.aspx

    March 17, 2010

    A Brother’s Love

    By Jennifer Garvin

    Las Vegas—John Ferrin wanted to do something that would both honor his late brother and take care of the veterans he spent his life admiring.

    As a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine, dentistry is John’s passion—and he hoped that a dental clinic dedicated to improving the oral health of soldiers would serve as the perfect tribute to his brother and a great way to get involved with donating care.

    What began as an idea in October 2007 quickly became a reality, and in July 2008 the Sergeant Clint Ferrin Memorial Clinic opened the doors to its first patients. Initially treating those troops deemed non-deployable because of oral disease, the clinic has since expanded to include all veterans who can’t afford care.

    For that initiative and for its significant contribution to student outreach, UNLV was the 2009 recipient of the ADA Foundation Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award.

    “This selfless effort by these dental students exemplifies what the ADA Foundation and the Tarrson Access to Oral Health Care Award are all about,” said Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni, president, ADA Foundation. “We are improving the lives and dental health of others by connecting people and investing in the human potential of so many individuals.”

    Added Linda Tarrson, who initiated the award in honor of her late husband, Bud, “There were so many outstanding applicants but this program, to me, personified the award.

    I’m extremely proud of the UNLV program and its students for their desire to go beyond what is expected and to be of service to those in the community who are in such need of oral health care.”

    The first UNLV clinic treated 19 patients and the school has since put on six additional clinics, with about 30 patients receiving free treatment at each session, including more than 100 veterans. The clinic is operated by UNLV dental students but supervised by Nevada licensed dentists and provides a full range of treatment including restorations, root canal therapy, extractions, crowns and dentures.

    John’s brother, Clint, was a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He died while serving in Iraq in 2004.

    John said the seed for the clinic was planted about two years ago when he first started dental school. He remembered how his brother suffered from tooth pain but didn’t want to take time off to visit a dentist. The pain persisted and he eventually lost one of his lateral incisors during a training accident at work. It would be two years before he would bother to get a low-cost prosthesis to replace it. Meanwhile, he was in pain and wouldn’t smile.

    “It’s kind of a stigma in the military to take a day off just to deal with a tooth,” said John, who is now in his third year.

    “When these men and women are out in these high stress atmospheres, they ignore their oral health,” he said, “and the effects of that last for years.”

    In its application for the award, UNLV dental student Jarom Mauer summarized John’s belief that the clinic chooses to serve veterans because “these individuals often have inadequate access to care because they are not currently on active duty” and thus, “not eligible for military benefits.”

    Clint was a hero to John, who described a memory of visiting a cemetery near where the family used to live in Mississippi.

    Together, he, Clint and their youngest brother, Brandon, cleaned dirt and leaves off the tombstones of veterans and then placed small flags at the graves.

    “It wasn’t Memorial Day or anything,” he said. “It was just an ordinary day.”

    John said the money from the Tarrson Award will be used to support the clinic. Doctors and students have been great about donating their time, he said, but the clinic relies on local businesses for supplies. For instance, one laboratory donates denture cases, but “we still have to pay for the prosthetic teeth.”

    The ADA Foundation created the E. Bud Tarrson Access to Oral Health Care Award in 2003 in honor of philanthropist Bud Tarrson, former chief executive officer and owner of the John O. Butler Company. Each year, the award recognizes one exemplary volunteer community service project developed by dental students enrolled in a predoctoral dental education program.

    It is John’s hope that other dental schools will take on similar projects helping veterans.

    “It’s a really good feeling,” he said. “One of my soft spots is watching the faculty and students volunteer. It’s really inspiring!”

    After graduation in 2011, John said he plans to finish out his own assignment in the National Guard and enter general practice.

    John said he thinks about his brother all the time. He misses him and considers him his personal hero, but there is one thing that makes him smile.

    “He hated attention,” he said. “He’d be happy for the veterans but embarrassed it was happening in his name.”

    For more information about the Tarrson Award or other ADA Foundation programs, visit www.adafoundation.org.

  • UNLV Dental Students Earn ADA Foundation Tarrson Student Leadership Award

    Posted Jan 28th, 2011 By in News With | No Comments

    http://www.ada.org/3209.aspx

    February 26, 2010

    Developed oral health project to aid Nevada National Guard troops, military veterans

    Contact Information:

    Telephone: 312-440-2806
    E-mail: mediarelations@ada.org (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

    CHICAGO, Feb. 26, 2010—The ADA Foundation awarded its 2009 Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine in recognition of an oral health treatment program for National Guard troops. The UNLV School of Dental Medicine will receive $5,000 with the award to enhance student education and outreach to underserved populations.

    “This selfless effort by these dental students exemplifies what the ADA Foundation and the Tarrson Access to Oral Health Care Award are all about,” stated Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni, president, ADA Foundation. “We are improving the lives and dental health of others by connecting people and investing in the human potential of so many individuals.”
    Created in 2003, in memory of philanthropist Bud Tarrson, former chief executive officer and owner of the John O. Butler Company, the award recognizes one exemplary volunteer community service project developed by dental students enrolled in a predoctoral dental education program. A Chicago native, Mr. Tarrson was a director of the former ADA Health Foundation (now ADA Foundation) from 1994 –1999.

    UNLV dental students access to care award project

    In 2008, UNLV dental students founded the “Sergeant Clint Ferrin Memorial Clinic” to help meet the oral health needs of National Guard troops deemed non-deployable because of dental problems. Some of these troops cannot access dental care because they are not on active duty, making them ineligible for military benefits. The program has since expanded to include all local military veterans with limited access to dental care.

    The first clinic, held in July 2008 at the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, treated 19 patients. Since then, there have been six additional clinics, with approximately 30 patients receiving free treatment at each session, including over 100 veterans. UNLV dental students, supervised by Nevada licensed dentists, provided treatment that included restorations, root canals, extractions, crowns and dentures.

    The clinic honors the memory of a UNLV dental student’s brother killed in action in 2004, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Between 2004 and 2008, the Tarrson Award honored outstanding community service on the part of a practicing dentist or lay person. In 2009, the ADA Foundation rededicated the Tarrson Award program to highlight significant dental student outreach to vulnerable communities.

    “The new approach to this annual award program supports the efforts and acknowledges the initiative and outreach of dental students across the country,” said Linda Tarrson, who initiated the award in honor of her late husband. “Selecting this year’s recipient was difficult because there are so many outstanding student programs that are supporting the ideals of professional service and outreach to the community.”

    She added, “I’m extremely proud of the UNLV program and its students for their desire to go beyond what is expected and to be of service to those in the community who are truly in need of oral healthcare.”

  • Dental Student Establishes Clinic for Veterans and National Guard Troops

    Posted Jan 29th, 2011 By in News With | No Comments

    http://cms.unlv.edu/newscenter/feature.dot?newsid=123357

    Dental student establishes clinic to provide free treatment for veterans and National Guard troops deemed nondeployable due to poor oral health.

    05/27/2010

    Local veterans and National Guard soldiers now have something to smile about – literally. Many are getting free dental care thanks to a UNLV program honoring a fallen soldier.

    The Sergeant Clint Ferrin Memorial Clinic began nearly two years ago, initially treating National Guard troops deemed nondeployable because of poor oral health. It now serves all veterans who can’t afford dental care.

    Deployed soldiers often neglect their oral health. “The last thing they are thinking about is brushing and flossing,” said John Ferrin, a UNLV dental student and Army National Guard member who started the clinic. “Soldiers are focused on their mission and staying alive. Unfortunately, the bone loss from periodontal disease is not easily replaced.”

    A Brother’s Love
    The program came about because Ferrin wanted to pay tribute to America’s veterans. Ferrin’s brother, Clint, a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, was killed in Iraq in 2004 by an improvised explosive device while leading his platoon in a mission.

    “We are here to give back to those who have sacrificed so much for us,” Ferrin said. “My brother instilled in me a respect for veterans. This respect, in combination with the neglect of [Clint's] own oral health while serving, is how the idea for the clinic began.”

    Clint had several teeth that caused him pain while serving and he eventually lost a tooth during training. It took him two years to get a temporary prosthetic, which wasn’t worn often because of its poor fit. “Unfortunately, Clint never had the opportunity to get an implant to help restore not only his smile but also his self-confidence.”

    National Recognition
    In recognition of the dental school’s outreach efforts, the American Dental Association Foundation awarded the 2009 Bud Tarrson Dental School Student Community Leadership Award to the program.

    Although the clinic is something to be proud of, Ferrin said that his brother would be embarrassed by all the attention. “However, he loved veterans and he loved this country. Deep down he would feel honored and humbled that his name was used to reach out to this great country’s veterans.”

    The dental school has held 11 clinics, with about 30 patients receiving free treatment at each session, including more than 120 veterans. Dental students, supervised by licensed dentists, provide treatments such as cleanings, restorations, extractions, and crowns.

    Antonio Montenegro, president of the UNLV Student Veterans Organization, has benefited from the free clinics - having his teeth cleaned, cavities filled, and crowns replaced. “It is more than just the dental work, it is these efforts that inspire our organization to keep giving back to the veterans on campus and in the community.”

    Montenegro served in the Army for three years, participating in Iraqi Freedom. He recently received his bachelor’s degree and plans to attend graduate school at UNLV.

    Ferrin hopes other schools will follow UNLV’s lead and start similar clinics.

    “It is inspiring to see the faculty donate their talents and time on behalf of the veterans,” Ferrin said. “The gratitude the veterans show for the treatment is touching and I want others to experience the same.”

    The ADA Foundation created the E. Bud Tarrson Access to Oral Health Care Award in 2003 and each year recognizes one exemplary volunteer community service project developed by dental students enrolled in a predoctoral dental education program.

    - By Shane Bevell. Originally published in UNLV Impacts, May 2010.

© 2011-2014 Sergeant Clint Ferrin Dental Clinic | Web Development by Mvestor Media - Las Vegas SEO and Web Development