Healthcare On the Go

Students provide mobile care in the Smile Care Everywhere van.

Your eyes and teeth are as important to your overall health as your heart and brain.

But for many, dental and vision care can fall by the wayside when trying to access increasingly expensive healthcare.

That’s why Pacific University recently established its EyeSmile Outreach Program.

Supported by an anonymous donor, EyeSmile links existing community health outreach efforts in the College of Optometry and School of Dental Hygiene Studies. Both programs have long offered mobile healthcare clinics to help provide healthcare to underserved populations. The Pacific EyeVan and Smile Care Everywhere van travel throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, offering dental cleanings, vision screenings, glasses and more to children, migrant workers, and the elderly.

In the past two years, donor support has funded a new state-of-the-art mobile clinic for each program and established EyeSmile, an administrative umbrella that helps coordinate interdisciplinary outreach and maximize community partnerships.

“Dental hygiene services are important and impact a person’s overall health,” said Lisette Romig, clinical outreach coordinator for the EyeSmile program. “However, these services are most likely to be unavailable to patients in our community due to lack of insurance and access. Smile Care Everywhere strives to overcome these barriers by bringing the services to the people who most need it at a location which is convenient and safe and where patients from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds can receive culturally competent care without being judged or discriminated against.

This story also appears in the Winter 2018 Philanthropy Edition of Pacific magazine.

Nov. 14, 2018