- Jan. 14, 2014
-- It is unlikely that Dr. David Black of Blue Ridge Dental Group in Roanoke, VA envisioned five years ago that his work on the Roanoke Mission of Mercy Dental Project would earn him a trip to the White House but that’s exactly what happened on July 15, 2013. Following the ceremony attended by President Obama along with former President Bush and their wives in the East Room of the White House, Dr. Black and the other attendees were treated to refreshments in the State Dining Room. The Roanoke Mission of Mercy brings together approximately 800 volunteer dental professionals and students to provide free dental care for thousands of uninsured and underinsured local residents.
Over the past five years, Dr. Black has coordinated the efforts of more than 2,000 different volunteers who have provided in excess of $5 million dollars in complimentary dental care to 5,000 patients in need. It is estimated that 100 million Americans cannot afford adequate dental care. According to Dr. Black, “Even in Roanoke, which has relatively low unemployment, we had more than a thousand people show up the first year.” Since then, event organizers have implemented a new ticketing system which effectively reduces wait times.
Dr. Black gives credit to Terry Dickinson of the Virginia Dental Association as being a pioneer of large scale annual dental clinics. “Many other states are now using Virginia as a model to start similar projects. When Terry asked me to help expand the program to Roanoke, I was enthusiastic about it. My family has had three generations of dentists in this city and I feel that since I’ve been privileged to have a good career, I’m expected to give back.” Dr. Black also encourages other dental professionals to get involved with volunteer clinics, “…I won’t tell you that an event like this isn’t hard work. But the need is great… And when they (patients) leave, the overwhelming gratitude they show us is its own reward.”
For more information or to congratulate Dr. Black, please contact him at Blue Ridge Dental in Vinton, 1 (888) 853-4477 or visit them at www.blueridgedentalgroup.com Blue Ridge Dental Group also has locations in Salem, Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake and the New River Valley, VA.