Meharry's chapter of American Student Dentist Association (ASDA) provided free oral surgeries, cleanings, and fillings for those without dental insurance.
Even before the doors opened, people were already lining up outside Meharry Medical College for a student-organized event set to start one Saturday morning.
Meharry Medical College is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.
Students worked overtime that Saturday to provide service to hundreds of people. Next to where teeth were being cleaned, Charles Corbit, who is 54 and homeless, stood in line. Corbit arrived as soon as doors opened and was stunned by the turnout. He says he arrived at Meharry at 8:06 a.m. and stood in three lines to get his teeth cleaned.
Meharry produces 40 percent of African American dentists. And 83 percent of those dentists practice in underserved communities after graduation, which the college encourages.
Despite strong correlations between oral sickness and systemic illness, dental insurance for adults is not covered by most TennCare plans. President of the local ASDA chapter, La'Chanda Akers, says that the refusal to see dentistry as a vital part of healthcare is very problematic and dentists must remind everyone that "dentistry is a major part" of healthcare.
Meharry students say they hope to expand the event so more people can be included.
Erin Logan, Nashville Public Radio, Nashville, TN
Meharry Medical College now has opened a clinic to meet the needs of low income, impoverished individuals in the Nashville area.
Saltwagon Clinic @ Meharry is a student-run free clinic under the supervision of faculty physicians at Meharry Medical College. It was founded by Meharry students and established in partnership with the United Neighborhoods Health Services clinic network. Its mission is to address health care disparities within our community by providing free, high-quality care to Nashville's underserved populations and by serving as a clinical skills training ground for students, inspiring the next generation of primary care specialists.
Services include free primary care and after hours access to care.
Saltwagon Clinic @ Meharry serves to both enrich the educational experience of students and provide top-quality health care at no cost to an underserved community. This community clinic is made possible by the dedicated student and faculty volunteers at Meharry, as well as donors and institutional support.
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.