Chandler Children’s Dental Clinic, supported in part by Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center, is expected to provide free services to about 10,000 children in the next 10 years. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the clinic provided care to 7,777 children during its first decade.
The program, designed for the low-income and underserved, is a collaborative effort between Dignity Health and the Chandler CARE Center, a program supported by the Chandler Unified School District. The staff provides free preventative and restorative dental services for children who face barriers to traditional dental care.
The clinic recently received a generous gift from Thunderbirds Charities. The $37,000 donation will be used to purchase new equipment such as digital imaging sensors. This is the second time that Thunderbirds Charities have helped to fund the clinic.
“When the clinic first opened, we saw about 300 patients a year,” says Eric Harris, DDS and director of the program. “This year we will see about 1,300 children, plus we offer a robust education program for parents. There is a tremendous need for this service and I’m delighted to be part of it. We would also like to thank the Thunderbirds for their ongoing support.”
The Chandler CARE Center, which includes the clinic, is located in the heart of the Chandler Redevelopment Area on the Galveston Elementary School campus. Families who seek services at the clinic often are in need of additional social services. The clinic’s location at the Chandler CARE Center allows clinic staff to connect families with other services provided at the CARE Center including insurance enrollment assistance, a food bank, parenting education as well as medical and mental health services.
“Chandler Children’s Dental Clinic is making a positive life changing impact on the health of these deserving children and we are happy to support such a great mission,” said Andy Markham, president of Thunderbirds Charities.
Arizona fares worse than some other states when it comes to children’s oral health. More than half of Arizona kindergarteners have some dental decay. And, more than 25 percent of Arizona kindergarteners through third graders have no dental insurance.
Low-income and minority children have greater dental treatment needs than most children. The Chandler Children’s Dental Clinic was created to serve these specific children.
“This is the most rewarding job I have ever had,” says clinic dental hygienist Peggy Stoor. “I feel like I can really make a difference here.”
The Chandler Children’s Dental Clinic is open three days a week. Under the direction of Dr. Harris, the clinic is staffed by four dental hygienists, a registrar, and a clinic coordinator. The majority of patients who need more complex treatment are referred to dentists at the St. Vincent de Paul Dental Clinic which is located in the same facility, allowing for seamless provision of services. Children also are referred to a network of private pediatric dentists who have agreed to provide care at no cost to children referred from the clinic.
Please note there is a video about the clinic with a patient testimonial linked below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVuRBC4ENhQ&index=52&list=UUMIfjGWPFW5iuPkNHCbJe4A
About Thunderbirds Charities
Thunderbirds Charities is a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to distribute monies raised through the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The Thunderbirds Charities Board consists of 15 board members from varying professional backgrounds. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality of life in our communities. The organization’s giving is directed toward organizations based or with a significant presence in Arizona. For more information on Thunderbirds Charities or the Waste Management Phoenix Open, visit www.wmphoenixopen.com or call the Thunderbirds office at (602) 870-0163.