UCC Mainstream Online

Dental van returning to UCC

Mason Mitchell & Rebecca Hallgrimson / Mainstream
Rebecca Hallgrimson interviews Marjan Coester and a UCC student about the Mobile Dental Van.

Students without dental insurance, the UCC student government, ASUCC, has found a way to help since spring 2011 through the Dental Van program. The Dental Van is able to help 10 to 12 students on each visit and can perform small procedures.

The Dental Van is able to offer small procedures like tooth extraction and fillings that will help relieve the student of pain free of charge.

The Dental Van is funded by ASUCC in partnership with Northwest Medical Teams, who are part of Medical Teams International which, as stated on their website, is a Christian global health organization that deliver medical and dental care, humanitarian aid, and holistic development programs to all people in need

There are a few requirements for students to participate for the free services. A student may not have dental insurance, must not be currently seeing a dentist and their household income before taxes must be under 200% of the Federal Poverty level according to Marjan Coester the Director of Student Life Advisor at UCC stated. The Federal poverty level for 2012 for a single person was $11,170 according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, so 200% would be $22,340.  

The Dental Van usually comes to campus twice each term and helps an average of 10 to 12 students per visit. The next visit is scheduled for Feb. 8.

All of the doctors and dental assistants who work at the Dental Van are volunteers from the local Oregon communities that the Van serves, according to Tim Semrau, the Roseburg Dental Van manager. Semrau in a telephone interview explained that the Dental Van serves people in Douglas, Coos, Curry and Lane counties. The current van was purchased and donated by the Ford Family Foundation about 10 years ago at a price of $500,000.

Ursula Angel, UCC Student
Dennis Wahlman / Mainstream
Ursula Angel, UCC Student

Ursula Angel, a second year UCC Human Services major who plans to transfer to the University of Oregon, has used the van twice.  She has found the application process simple and the staff helpful. “You just tell them where your pain is.”Angel notes that the Dental Van program especially targets Oregonians with no insurance.  “They will usually take you if have no insurance, because that’s who they’re looking for, people who have immediate need, who don’t have insurance and can’t afford a dentist or even the sliding scale to see a dentist.  Dentistry seems to be painful to the pocket book.”

The experience was different for Angel than dental visit because “you just walked right in at your allotted slot time. It was very convenient, especially because they can work your appointment around your classes. This is really nice because they go directly to the tooth that is bothering you. You get an x-ray taken, you have a dental assistant and the dentist; it’s just like being in a office, they are very warm and very friendly, non-judgmental and they’re eager to help you.”

Students wanting an application for Dental Van services should contact Marjan Coester in the Campus center at 541-440-7749 or marjan.coester@umpqua.edu. The application must be returned  to Marjan Coester by February 5th.