Our Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, operated in partnership with St. Peter’s Dental Center, provides free, comprehensive dental care to underserved and underinsured children attending area schools. Our well-equipped, child-friendly “dental suite on wheels” serves elementary, middle, and high school students in need of dental services, regardless of their family’s ability to access or pay for those services.
In June of 2006, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc. (RMHC) launched a Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile in partnership with St. Peter’s Health Care Services (SPHCS). The Care Mobile addresses the restorative dental needs of children in the Capital District, beginning with children within the City of Albany.
Together, RMHC of the Capital Region and St. Peter’s Health Partners are working to meet the dental needs of medically underserved families. Our goals are to:
- Provide comprehensive pediatric dental care;
- Help children find a primary dentist for ongoing care and lasting relationships; and
- Assist families in obtaining health and dental insurance.
Our organizations will partner and strive to make it possible, easy, and convenient for families to receive vital dental care for good oral health, regardless of their ability to pay.
Did you know?
- Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever as a chronic childhood disease.
- Pain from dental disease is the second leading cause of school absenteeism for five to nine-year-olds.
- Dental disease is most prevalent in populations whose access to care is compromised by language and transportation barriers, an inability to pay for services, a lack of coverage, the complexity of oral and medical conditions, and the lack of available providers.
Throughout the year, a dedicated team of dental experts provide a comprehensive range of services to area school children. Additionally, the St. Peter’s Hospital Dental Center Clinical Practice Manager and the RMHC Outreach Manager partner to peruse many opportunities to provide educational and promotional outreach in the schools and in the community at large, such as, open houses, school fairs, classroom presentations, all-school assemblies, PTA meetings, and community health fairs.
The Care Mobile initially served five Albany City School District schools based on the highest percentage of free and reduced lunch utilization. In 2012, the program expanded to serve the Rensselaer City School District, and in 2016, the program expanded services to the Menands Union Free School District. In one school year, the dental team provides treatment for several hundred students in elementary, middle, and high school in the Capital Region. During the summer months, the Care Mobile seeks to reach out to children at local youth centers, Head Start programs, and daycare facilities.
There is a volunteer component to the Care Mobile program. The RMHC Outreach Manager recruits an annual team of at least 10 volunteers to come alongside the students and support the dental team. Specifically, the volunteers support the dental team by going into the schools and transporting the students to and from their classrooms to the Care Mobile for treatment. They offer encouragement, a listening ear, a coloring book, entertainment while they students wait for care, and ensure proper paperwork is sent with the child to the parents after treatment. This support allows the dental team to focus on patient care.
Interested in becoming a Care Mobile Volunteer? Email Don Emery, RMHC Outreach Manager, or call 518.438.2655.