Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 11 Dental Impact Kavokerr Thumb

KaVo Kerr Group participates in 6th Annual Impact Day at RDH Under One Roof

Nov. 11, 2015
Kavo Kerr Group donated time and materials to dental hygienists working with Catholic Charities in Las Vegas to care for and educate the homeless population, especially homeless men—a surprisingly underserved group.
NOMAD specialist Amy Dodge and "That 70s Guy"

KavoKerr Group donated time and materials to dental hygienists working with Catholic Charities in Las Vegas to care for and educate the homeless population, especially homeless men—a surprisingly underserved group.

KaVo Kerr Group brands—including Nomad, Gendex, and Kerr—donated time and materials to help support the 6th Annual Impact Day, an event held in coordination with PennWell’s RDH Under One Roof conference. This year, the meeting was held in Las Vegas and Impact Day participants served at the local Catholic Charities.

The goal of the Dental Impact project is to offer more than a day of care; instead the committee works with the chosen organization to create a program that can be duplicated when the volunteers return home.

“We don’t go in to clean teeth or drill and fill, but to put in place a sustainable project for disease prevention,” said Noel Kelsch, RDHA, founder of Impact Day. “A key part of this is to demonstrate that pop-up clinics aren’t the answer—we need to provide people with a dental home. This is why we engage in ‘train the trainer’ efforts, coach clients on caring for their own mouth and leave people with the tools necessary to repeat the project.”

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This year, teaming up with Catholic Charities and Future Smiles, the program included a health fair with oral cancer screening, fluoride varnish, oral care demonstrations, nutritional counseling, and other subjects. The last station featured Nomad’s very own “that 70’s guy” mascot—handing each person a KaVo Kerr Group cooling band. Together, 40 volunteers served more than 350 homeless clients.

“Community service is not new to our group or to the many dental professionals who use our products, but the energy and results we witnessed at Impact Day made a real impression on our team,” said Gina Durkin, marketing manager for KaVo Kerr Group Imaging, Gendex, and Nomad. “We share Noel’s vision for helping to create sustainable, repeatable projects and look forward to continued efforts in making Impact Day possible each year, and are extremely proud of all the volunteers accomplished at Catholic Charities.”

Kelsch chose Catholic Charities as a strategic partner based on its track record with serving homeless residents.

“The work they do is amazing! They provide a cooling station in the summer—when it gets so hot, homeless people can die of heat stroke on the street. People in need can come in for a meal and shower,” said Kelsch. “There’s also a graduated program that moves people from the street to a group home, then a quad system with four apartments. If a person wants, there is a training seminar to assess skills and clients are paired with a social worker who can connect him or her with resources. Currently, they’ve put approximately 1,100 people through a culinary program, who are now working in Las Vegas hotels. From there, clients can start paying for their meals, get an apartment, and start developing a stable rental history. This is a truly incredible model with a great success rate.”

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Kelsch surveyed the center staff, then clients, and then the community. She discovered that there is education for children and young adults; for the homeless man, however, there are no dental services available other than a mobile unit that comes once a month and is only capable of seeing about 80 people per visit. For Impact Day it made sense, then to focus on the men, then women, then teenagers and kids.

“It appears backwards compared to most models, but kids were already being served,” Kelsch said. “On Impact Day, 75% of those we saw were men over the age of 21.”

In her role as RDHAP, the dental equivalent of a nurse practitioner, Kelsch has been working with underserved clients for years, including the homeless population. Seeing them and so many others living in extreme need motivated her to find a way to help other dental hygienists make a connection to sustainable service efforts.

“I’d been a speaker at RDH Under One Roof for almost a decade, and I felt like there was a part of the meeting that wasn’t meeting the needs I saw out there. I wanted to develop a program where hygienists could learn how to create repeatable dental projects,” Kelsch explained. “Through Impact Day, we can now teach people how to set up these events, get donations and survey the community. People want to go clean teeth or have a clinic day, but the sustainable project is more about community outreach and preventive care.”

Source: KaVo Kerr Group press release 21 September 2015