Covid put the brakes on Saipan Seventh-day Adventist Dental Clinic’s annual community outreach in 2020. However, it did not dampen the staff’s goodwill and creativity in holding Clinic with a Heart on May 28th this year.
Platforms to announce the event included posters, flyers, streamers and Facebook live. Automobiles were already lined up along Quartermaster Road -- the main thoroughfare leading to the clinic -- before the event began at noon. Unmindful of the scorching heat, workers held up signage and directed traffic to the clinic. To follow health protocols and ensure safety precautions, adult clients drove beside the tent erected in the clinic’s parking lot. Drivers and adult passengers received gifts packed with oral hygiene kits, pens and tracts handed out by staff volunteers. Three hundred gift kits were all gone in a couple of hours. Those that showed up afterward were offered bottled water.
Rachel Ann Masga, this year’s event coordinator, pointed out that Clinic with a Heart shows the clinic's generosity and love for the community. According to Masga, “It is obvious that the community appreciates that we can give back, even during the worldwide pandemic.” Masga added, “I hope we can provide more than 300 bags next time.”
Dr. Warren Creed, clinic director, is hopeful that when the pandemic is over regular outreach services will be offered to the community again. “We have been serving the community here for many years and there is a great need for us to reach out and help our community as we are able. With the social distancing due to Covid, we have not been able to offer our traditional services, but we are able to provide the community with the oral hygiene kits,“ said Dr. Creed.
Twice a year, the Saipan SDA Dental Clinic provides dental services to uninsured individuals in the Saipan community. Services provided include deep or therapeutic cleanings, gum therapy, fillings and extractions as well as giving away antibiotics and medicines. Every first Friday of February, Give Kids a Smile is held for children who do not have Medicaid or other dental insurance. Clinic with a Heart, which caters to adults, is conducted on the Sunday of Memorial weekend. Clinic with a Heart started about 15 years ago.
Friday’s turnout demonstrates the public awareness of the Adventist Clinic’s presence in the community. It also shows that our services go beyond the corners of the dental chair.