Orcas Island Community Foundation sinks teeth into initiative
March 13, 2012 · 11:23 AM
Last year’s Community Needs Assessment gave the Orcas Island Community Foundation plenty of food for thought.
It was clear that several areas of great need exist on Orcas, but the one that consistently rose to the surface was access to physical, mental and dental health services. In response, OICF has launched a new program: the Focus Area Investment initiative. OICF is collaborating with community partners to develop three projects to improve access and increase information to health care providers and clients alike.
The first project will address the immediate need for dental care for those community members who lack insurance and the ability to pay for care, which was identified as the highest priority in a survey of San Juan County families living at or below the federal poverty level.
To begin to meet this need, OICF is working with County Health Nurse Tamara Joyner, Orcas Family Connections Director Erin O’Dell and San Juan County Oral Hygiene Coalition member and Registered Nurse Rita Bailey to bring a dental van from Medical Teams International to Orcas.
On a recent Dental Van visit to San Juan Island, 28 patients received care valued at $12,000 in a two-day span. The first Orcas visit will be on March 23 and 24, with three additional visits scheduled in 2012. All three Orcas dentists and their staff members are donating their time. Patients will be prioritized based on their applications and level of need. Applications are available at the Food Bank, OPAL, the Orcas Senior Center, Orcas Family Connections and the fire department.
OICF’s second project stems from health care providers’ pleas to get them more and better information about each other so they can help their patients. Providers don’t have enough information about who offers each kind of care, what kind of reduced-price or free care is available, and more. OICF will create a web-based directory of services and supports.
OICF’s third project will be a community wide survey to track key indicators starting with residents’ physical, mental and dental health care needs.
OICF is applying for a Knight Foundation grant of $25,000 and has raised $15,000 of required matching funds. For more info, contact Hilary Canty at 376-6423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.