The generosity of various community organizations has given the low-income population of Hilton Head and Daufuskie islands something to smile about.
Thanks to the Van Landingham Rotary Club, the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, the Bangs Family Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield and others, the nonprofit organization Volunteers In Medicine was able to expand its dental department. The recent expansion cost about $400,000.
The Rotary Club pledged $100,000 toward the project, $50,000 of which has already been given to the clinic.
"We're thrilled," the dental department's coordinator, Lois Schuhrke, said about the new clinic.
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Schuhrke said the original dental clinic had five dental treatment rooms, and the new one has eight. That means the clinic can have two dentists and a dental student working at the same time. It also means they have room for more dental hygienists to volunteer. And all that means they can treat more patients.
Schuhrke said the clinic also added a state-of-the-art sterilization center and a larger laboratory, which make things easier for the volunteers at the clinic.
Run by a group of volunteer retired health care professionals, the Hilton Head Island clinic now has doctors that serve in 23 different specialties, according to Lisa Nowak, the clinic's director of development and communications. Volunteers In Medicine offers free medical, dental and mental health services to individuals who live or work on Hilton Head or Daufuskie islands, have no medical insurance and meet other requirements.
"We're always looking to do everything we can to expand our services to meet the needs of the community," Nowak said. "And we're just so thrilled to be able to add this new dental facility."