If interest in dental care is an indicator, the third Saint Thomas Medical Mission event on April 12 will draw 300 or more folks in need of a variety of medical care, from basic check-ups to vision screenings and pharmacy services.
Services are free during the clinic, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Centerville National Guard Armory.
The Hope Smiles dental ministry, headed by Dr. Phillip Kemp, had drawn 93 appointments through last Wednesday, with a maximum of 100 to be served, said Saint Thomas’ Kevin Campbell, mission leader at the local hospital. It required advance reservations, as did the mammography service.
Last year, Dr. Kemp and his staff -- many of them advanced dental students -- operated out of six dental chairs. This year, 12 chairs will be available, Campbell said, to meet the demand.
“There are so many residents here that can’t afford to see a physician for regular check-ups,” said Campbell. “Often, people have to buy food or pay rent instead of addressing their serious health issues. Having this event will be a true blessing for so many.”
This third Mission Day is Saint Thomas’ recognition of the health needs of Hickman County, where 13 percent of residents do not have medical insurance, and 16 percent have incomes that placed them below the poverty line.
“It is our responsibility as a mission-driven ministry to care for the poor and vulnerable, especially in our own communities,” said Saint Thomas Health vice president Nancy Anness.
Dozens of medical personnel from four Saint Thomas hospitals -- Rutherford, West, Midtown as well as Hickman -- will staff the event.
Pharmacy services will be provided by the Dispensary of Hope.