Members of the Board of Directors of Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) and the Door County Medical Center Foundation, Auxiliary members and hospital staff celebrated the Ministry Dental Clinic’s new space with a prayer service last week. The clinic serves Door and Kewaunee patients who are Medicaid participants or who are uninsured and low income.
“Dental care is one of the top priority areas identified through our community health needs assessment,” says Jerry Worrick, president and CEO of MDCMC. “We are proud to provide this service to children and adults who, otherwise, would not have access to quality dental care.”
The clinic was founded in 1999 by Mary Ann Zjala, a local dental hygienist who identified a need for quality dental care for children who lacked access to a dentist. She took the idea to Worrick, who quickly pledged the hospital’s support. Dentists and hygienists volunteered from the community, and the clinic was open four times per month. The clinic served 50 children in its first year.
Seventeen years later, the clinic provides services five days a week and has two staff dentists and several hygienists. Last year, the Ministry Dental Clinic served 3,000 patients. “We’ve helped reduce the number of urgent care and emergency room visits in the community due to dental emergencies. And every day, we hear from patients that they are so happy and relieved to finally have a place to come for dental care,” says Tanya Fischer, who has led the clinic since Zjala’s retirement in 2013.
The new clinic provides improved privacy and efficiency, and includes space for future expansion. Located on 18th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay, directly across the street from MDCMC, it was funded by community donations and grants through the Door County Medical Center Foundation.