The Ohio Department of Health is pleased to announce that Michelle Deskins, Dental Clinic Coordinator and Laura Longwell, Registered Dental Hygienist, Third Street Family Health Services in Mansfield, Ohio have been named the 2018 recipients of the Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr., Champions of Oral Health Award. Michelle and Laura are recognized for their ongoing outreach efforts and passion for the expansion of services to vulnerable populations, including school-aged children and local veterans. They were nominated by Dr. David Hoag, DDS, Chief Dental Officer at Third Street Family Health Services.
Third Street Family Health Service’s school-based program was designed to increase oral health education to families and provide easy access to care, reaching many vulnerable children. Through Laura’s steady leadership and hard work, the school-based program is now implemented in every Mansfield-area elementary school. Students are provided preventive dental care and referred to the Third Street Family Health Services Dental Clinic if restorative services are needed. Through this program, the value of oral health is reinforced to families, teachers and school administrators and oral health problems are addressed before they become serious.
Michelle and Laura have also planned and hosted an annual “Veteran’s Celebration Day” which provides a free dental exam and prophylaxis (cleaning) to many veterans who have no means of paying for these services. In its third year, the event is held the week of Veterans Day. Due to the popularity of this event, Michelle and Laura hope to expand the program into a two-day event and include other community agencies. Throughout the year, Michelle and Laura held fundraisers in Third Street Family Health Services to engage colleagues in helping to offset the costs of hosting this event.
Dr. Hoag commended Michelle and Laura, saying they are an inspiration to the community and fellow staff at Third Street Family Health Services. He added that they have demonstrated what can be accomplished to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their community. Dr. Hoag also expressed that while it is easy to take these programs for granted, he is mindful of how much effort is needed to make these programs run so smoothly.
Recipients of the award are presented with a plaque and their names are engraved on a plaque perpetually on display at ODH. Please see a description of the award and a list of past recipients.