Ludella Robinson had avoided dental care for more years than she could remember, not out of fear like some people, but because without a job she simply did not have the resources to get care.
This is a common problem for many people in the city of Milwaukee. For nearly ten years, Columbia St. Mary's (CSM) has provided an answer to this need through its award-winning Madre Angela Dental Clinic – Milwaukee’s “Dental Emergency Room for the Poor.”
In December 2009, with grants from the Daughters of Charity and the State of Wisconsin, CSM and the Foundation took on a move, expansion and renaming of the dental clinic. Now named the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Dental Clinic – in honor of a beloved Daughter of Charity and the first United States-born saint – the dental clinic’s new home on 13th and Mitchell can accommodate double the number of patients it served at its previous location.
Seton Dental Clinic's goal is to ensure access to its broad range of oral health care – including urgent care, restorative care, dental appliances, hygiene services and a school-based oral health program – building its practice to more than 11,000 patient encounters each year.
The Seton Dental Clinic still provides the same exceptional care that helped Ludella and others like her. But today, the expansion allows dentists and staff to increase the number of patients they serve, incorporate digital technology for treatment and recordkeeping and utilize a dedicated space for community oral health education.
Ludella first learned about the dental clinic from CSM employees, where she is being treated for breast cancer. "I knew I had a lump in my breast, but I didn't have it examined until I got a free voucher for a mammogram at CSM from an outreach nurse," she explains. Improving Ludella's oral health was extremely important because any source of infection can be a complication if cancer treatment causes the immune system to be temporarily compromised.
This referral within our Community Benefits programming is a true example of the care coordination that CSM strives to provide all people, regardless of their ability to pay.
By the time of her initial visit to the dental clinic, Ludella was in pain and needed significant work, including several fillings and the extraction of six teeth. She jokes, "I got worried that I'd be without my hair, because of the chemo, and without teeth. How would that look? But they have taken molds for replacement teeth, thank goodness, and I get to have a whole new mouth!"
Meeting this growing community need is possible only through the philanthropic support of those who share CSM's concern for people who lack access to the basic dental care most of us take for granted. Click here to make a gift to support the Seton Dental Clinic.
Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation wishes to thank the very generous and thoughtful gifts provided for the move, expansion and operations of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Dental Clinic. Gifts totalling $10,000 and more were provided by (July 1, 2007 - January 1, 2010):
Aurora Health Care
Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation
C.G. Schmidt, Inc.
Catholic Community Foundation
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Delta Dental Plan of Wisconsin
Doral Dental USA, L.L.C.
Charles D. Jacobus Family Foundation, Inc.
Matthew Keenen Endowment Fund
Faye McBeath Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Bruce McDonald
Medical College of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Area Health Education Center, Inc.
Milwaukee Public Schools
Mission and Ministry, Inc.
Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Inc.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino
State of Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
United Way of Greater Milwaukee
Wisconsin Dental Foundation, Inc.