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Media Information: UMD and Catholic Charities Join Forces to Deliver $1 Million in Free Dental Care

September 4, 2014

Crystal Brown, UMD, crystalb@umd.edu, 301-405-4621
Tony Burke, Catholic Charities, tony.burke@catholiccharitiesdc.org, 202-772-4312

State of the Art Dental and Healthcare Services for 1,000 Patients

Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy (MOM) & Health Equity Festival

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland Terrapins' basketball court will transform into a mobile dental clinic with 100 dental chairs to provide $1 million of free dental care to 1,000 underserved, uninsured, and underinsured adults. The dental clinic is part of the two-day Mission of Mercy (MOM) and Health Equity Festival, sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Public Health's Center for Health Equity (an NIH-NIMHD Center of Excellence on Race, Ethnicity, and Disparities Research), and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.


Approximately 800 volunteers, including licensed dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants, will provide state of the art dental services, including cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals and oral hygiene education. The Health Equity Festival will also offer the following additional services:

  • Health promotion and disease prevention screenings
  • Evidence-based chronic disease management information, and
  • Social service resources.
  • Choirs from UMD's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and Department of Music will also perform live singing and music throughout the day to create gracious space designed to promote stress reduction and healing.
  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl (11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
  • University of Maryland President Wallace Loh (11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.)
  • Congressman Elijah Cummings (8:30 – 9:30 a.m.)
  • 1,000 underserved, uninsured, and underinsured adults (all day)
  • Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, University of Maryland School of Public Health's Center for Health Equity (all day)
  • Deacon Jim Nalls, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington (all day)
  • Dr. Frank McLaughlin, Maryland State Dental Association (all day)
  • Dr. Harry Goodman, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Oral Health (Morning) 

September 5-6, 2014, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Event will open to the media on Friday, Sept. 5 at11:00 a.m.

Media schedule – Friday, September 5:

  • 11 a.m.: Media check in (Gate C, XFINITY Center)
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Opportunity for b-roll, photos, and patient/volunteer/dentist/attendee interviews
  • 12 p.m.: Blessing from Cardinal Wuerl & remarks from event leaders

XFINITY Center (formerly Comcast Center)
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Media must enter and check in through Gate C (marked as the media entrance) at the XFINITY Center to receive their media badges. Please bring identification and credentials to the check-in table.


Complimentary parking for media is available in Lot 9B, near the XFINITY Center. Parking attendants will be on campus to assist with directions.


Mult-box audio feeds will be available during remarks.


Since the death of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy from Prince George's County who died in 2007 from an untreated dental infection, the state of Maryland has seen improvements in its oral health programs and policies. But great need remains for dental services, especially for adults. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that for 2012 almost 20 percent of Maryland residents surveyed had not visited a dentist within the past five years and seven percent had not visited a dentist in more than five years.

While the Affordable Care Act provides dental coverage for children and for pregnant women in Maryland, many adults still lack dental coverage. In Prince George's County, a vast number of these adults are low-income, immigrants, African-American or Hispanic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), although most oral diseases are preventable, many individuals do not seek dental services for reasons such as: cost, lack of dental insurance, lack of access to dental services, fear of dental procedures or lack of awareness.