Colleagues, administrators and staff of CommWell Health and the Sampson County School System attended the ribbon cutting of KINSHIP (Kids In School Healthcare Initiative and Partnership) CommWell Health’s new community mobile dental program. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Lakewood High School. Afterwards, staff of CommWell Health and the Sampson County School System enjoyed lunch served by Cape Fear Barbeque and Chicken.
CommWell Health’s new, 40-foot, fully equipped mobile dental clinic will provide comprehensive oral services to Sampson County Public Schools. “Good oral health is essential to overall health, but quality oral care is out of reach for too many children throughout our state and around the nation,” said Pam Tripp, CEO of CommWell Health. “We are excited that the CommWell Health mobile dental program will help overcome barriers to oral care for children in southeastern North Carolina. We are grateful for our partnership with Sampson County Schools that made this program possible. Together, we will continue working to make sure that all children have access to the oral care they need to grow up healthy.”
“All children deserve access to comprehensive dental care and to be free of dental pain and decay. CommWell Health’s mobile dental program is another way to expand care to children in Sampson County,” said Dr. Eric Bracy, Superintendent of Sampson County Schools.
CommWell Health established the KINSHIP during the 2012-2013 school year as a partnership with the Sampson County School System. The organization used portable dental equipment to provide care to four schools in the Union school district of Sampson County Schools. CommWell Health dental colleagues provided 2,156 procedures for 290 students. In 2016, CommWell Health received an operational and capital grant totaling $350,000 annually from the Health Resources and Services Administration to enhance the KINSHIP program. The funding enabled CommWell Health to purchase a mobile dental unit with two fully operational treatment rooms and x-ray. Funding will be used to support a full-time Dentist and Dental Assistants who will staff the mobile dental clinic. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the mobile dental clinic will begin to provide care on site at Sampson County Schools.
“Dental care is one of the single greatest unmet needs for health care among children nationwide,” said Pam Tripp. “Sampson County is a Health Professional Shortage Area for Dental services, which means there is need for more dental care providers in this county. Many of the children we have seen have had barriers to dental care because of financial or transportation barriers.” The KINSHIP program projects serving over 1,410 students during the 2017-2018 school year.
I have been in health care for 30 plus years. Working for CommWell Health the last 6 years have been amazing. I have been able to experience first hand a cultural change that deeply impacts the excellent quality of care for our patients. I am very proud to be a part of this team.