Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic expands companies to supply dental care

Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic expands companies to supply dental care

The Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic supplies free, common well being care — and has now added dental care to its companies, because of a seed grant from UB’s Medical and Translational Science Institute. Picture: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

“It’s not nearly your smile. It’s about systemic well being. ”

The Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic, which has been offering free well being care to uninsured and underinsured Western New Yorkers since its founding in 2001 by a gaggle of UB medical college students, has expanded its companies to incorporate dental care, because of a 2023 UB Medical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Group Partnership Growth Seed Grant.

The seed grant is enabling the clinic to offer dental screenings and follow-up to advertise long-term dental care to Lighthouse sufferers, in addition to purchasers of the Seneca-Babcock Group Affiliation. The grant is a collaboration between the College of Dental Drugs, College of Public Well being and Well being Professions, and their group companions at Seneca-Babcock.

Additionally affiliated with the grant are Joseph E. Gambacorta, College of Dental Drugs (tutorial lead); Sharlynn Daun-Barnett, College of Dental Drugs (tutorial lead); Daniel Kruger, College of Public Well being and Well being Professions; and Brian Pilarski, Seneca-Babcock Group Affiliation (group lead).

The Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic is the student-managed clinic of UB’s well being sciences models, together with the Jacobs College of Drugs and Biomedical Sciences and the College of Public Well being and Well being Professions.

“Our mission is to serve the uninsured and underinsured in Buffalo for his or her well being wants, and a part of general well being is dental well being,” says Jessica Kruger, medical affiliate professor, Division of Group Well being and Well being Habits, College of Public Well being and Well being Professions, and co-investigator on the seed grant. “Dental well being is usually forgotten and can be a luxurious, sadly, in our society. The seed grant has enabled us to display screen folks for dental well being and join them to companies.”

Kruger and the Lighthouse group stress the significance of dental care to clinic sufferers. Not solely does it impression how and what folks eat, but it surely impacts general well being.

“It’s not nearly your smile,” Kruger says. “It’s about systemic well being. Additionally, there’s the self-confidence and quality-of-life side. What’s the very first thing somebody notices about you? Your smile and or your lack of smile since you are embarrassed.”

She notes that dental ache can even result in lack of income and work. “We’re going to hold supporting upward monetary mobility by offering this medical care so that folks can get a job and be capable to handle their households,” Kruger says, including that having a dentist on web site makes for a customized and cozy expertise. “It adjustments folks’s perspective,” she says.

Kruger explains that Lighthouse supplies complete care — “something from lab work to connecting folks to exterior companies to even getting them to the clinic.”

“It’s a student-run clinic, which suggests college students do every part,” she says. “They’re the schedulers, they supply care they usually make the choices on how we run issues. It’s a distinctive mannequin to show management and supply companies to the group.”

For the scholar contributors, volunteering at Lighthouse is an impactful expertise, one which strengthens their bonds with members of the group. Grace Kim, a graduate pupil within the dental college, has volunteered at Lighthouse since 2018, as each an undergraduate and graduate pupil.

“This clinic has had a huge effect on my profession trajectory and views on patient-centered care, and Lighthouse has significantly improved my dental college expertise as a complete,” Kim explains. “Volunteering right here permits me to take a step again, give perspective and see sufferers in a mannequin that’s extra than simply their tooth. The abilities I’ve discovered from Lighthouse — not simply from sufferers however from different college students — have formed what sort of dentist I wish to be: a dentist who’s well-versed and rounded in all areas of patient-centered care.”

The Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic presents common well being care, together with work physicals, in addition to OB/GYN and dermatology care (by appointment solely). All care is supervised by licensed physicians.

Positioned within the Group Well being Middle of Buffalo at 34 Benwood Ave., the clinic is open from 5-8 p.m. on Fridays. Stroll-ins are welcome, however appointments are most popular; name 716-222-0805 to schedule an appointment. For extra info, go to the clinic’s web site.