Letter From the President
In 2020 the Florida Dental Association Foundation was honored to celebrate our Ruby Anniversary marking 40 years of serving Floridians in need. As the philanthropic arm of the Florida Dental Association, the FDA Foundation serves as a catalyst for uniting people and organizations to make a difference through better oral health. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the past board members for their hard work and dedication to the FDA Foundation. Their vision and guidance have paved the way. Secondly, I want to thank all who have contributed to the FDA Foundation both through financial donations or by donating their time and talents volunteering to treat those in need. Without the help of these dedicated individuals, the FDA Foundation would not have been able to serve those in need throughout the past four decades.
As the past 18 months have been difficult for most of us personally and professionally due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it has been wonderful to see our dental community come together in time of need. The FDA Foundation's signature program, the Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA–MOM), was hosted in Jacksonville, FL on July 30-31, 2021. Organizers were excited and cautious to host the event after the pandemic sidelined the event in 2020. I would like to thank the FLA–MOM team for all of their hard work in planning the Mission of Mercy and for reorganizing and rescheduling the event for 2021. FLA–MOM 2021 leaders brought some changes to the large-scale, two-day professional dental clinic including fewer dental chairs for increased space for each department in addition to more space between departments, increased dental chair distancing, aerosol management efforts, hand sanitation stations, appropriate PPE for volunteers and required face coverings for all, including volunteers and patients.
Preliminary results from the event include:
* More that 1,100 patients treated
* Over $1.6 million in donated dental care provided
* 1,200 volunteers - including 500+ dentists, hygienists and dental assistants donated their time
* More than 10,000 volunteer hours were recorded
* Countless smiles from patients and volunteers were seen, even under required PPE
I encourage dentists and their staff to volunteer for FLA–MOM 2022 in Tallahassee, FL March 11-12, 2022. The sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that one experiences during one of these events is life changing. Please click here to learn more about FLA-MOM and to and to register to volunteer for FLA-MOM 2022.
An additional FDA Foundation program is Project: Dentists Care (PDC). Our PDC partners provide dental services across the state to increase the access to dental care typically among low income individuals who do not qualify for public services. This year the FDA Foundation was able to support many of the PDC programs with Foundation grants totaling $50,000.
Many dentists want to help but prefer to donate time and talents from their own office. We encourage these dentists to register with the Florida Dental Lifeline Network through Donated Dental Services (DDS) to provide donated care in their office. DDS is supported by the FDA Foundation and provides access to free, comprehensive dental care for those who are disabled, elderly or medically fragile that cannot afford necessary treatment or receive public aid.
As 2020 brought challenges to the dental community, I am proud of the flexibility of the FDA Foundation Board of Directors and the FDA Foundation staff for adapting to changes and providing care for the most fragile in our communities. I personally invite you to join us in the effort to improve dentistry in Florida for those in need. You can click the links below to continue to serve those in need:
Dr. Natalie Carr Bustillo
President, Florida Dental Association Foundation