Dental Assisting Joins LegionThey lined up by the thousands, all hoping to be seen by a doctor, a dentist, or both. Many came from as far as 250 miles away. One man walked 15 miles. Most had not received any kind of healthcare in years. They represent the working poor, the unemployed, and the uninsured. In remote parts of Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, there are simply not enough healthcare professionals to go around.

That’s why two charitable organizations – Missions of Mercy and Remote Area Medical – drum up an army of volunteers to converge on the tiny town of Wise, Virginia once a year.

Dental Assisting Students Join Legion of Volunteers to Provide Care to Region’s Poor and Uninsured

This year, Dental Assisting Program Director Salayne Escalante and two of her students from ECPI University’s School of Health Sciences, Medical Careers Institute (MCI), joined the ranks. For three days in late July, they assisted with extractions, oral surgery, and seating dentures. When it was over, they and their fellow volunteers had seen more than 1,200 dental patients alone.

“Participating in this project was both eye-opening and very rewarding,” says Dental Assisting student Taylor Holloman. “The patients I saw were very thankful for the services we provided; and being able to see first-hand a lot of what we learned while in class was amazing. The ability to get to work with different doctors doing different specialties helped me to find my calling with dentures. Overall, the experience was fantastic and I am so excited to participate in the next event in October.”

“For these students, this was a life-changing event,” says Escalante. “They received a tremendous amount of hands-on experience, plus they were able to help people who are in great need. That’s a feeling that’s hard to beat.”

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