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Dental clinic funds in place for year
New dentist hired to start in August
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Tom Draper

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The financial support from the Martinsville-Henry County community has enabled the Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation to continue to keep the Community Dental Clinic open for an additional year and hire a full-time dentist.

Dr. Thomas C. Draper will become the clinic dentist in August. Currently, he has a private dental practice in Bridgewater in the Shenandoah Valley.

“This is wonderful news for our community,” said Dr. Mark Crabtree, president of the foundation. “We are grateful for the financial support during our last fundraising campaign, grants from the Harvest Foundation and the contributions of Henry County and the city of Martinsville, without which we would not be able to continue to serve the dental needs of the poor in our community.”

In May, Crabtree said the clinic only had enough funds to continue operating full-time until July. Now, however, it will continue operating as it has been for the next year, he said Saturday.

In addition to the support of the Harvest Foundation last year, businesses, individuals and other foundations donated $84,199.94.

A native of Michigan, Draper is a graduate of Brigham Young University and earned his degree in dentistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

“Dr. Draper is a highly qualified dentist who is committed to serving the community,” said Crabtree. “He will be an outstanding member of the Martinsville community.”

Draper and his wife have four children.

Dr. Risa Clark has been working at the clinic. Her husband, Chris, has been accepted to pharmacy school, and they will be leaving Martinsville.

“The Clarks hope to return to Martinsville after he earns his degree,” said Crabtree.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clark is continuing to work part-time at Martinsville Smiles.

The clinic dentist since 2009, she came to Martinsville after graduation from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Dentistry.

The foundation has provided more than $6 million worth of care to adults and children in Martinsville and Henry County since opening the Community Dental Clinic on Fayette Street uptown in August 2006. There have been 26,254 patient visits during that time.

“The demand continues to increase,” said Dr. Edward Snyder, vice president of the foundation. “Currently the waiting list is two years for appointments for comprehensive dental services.”

He added that the dentist sees emergencies as soon as possible. The clinic currently has 4.5 positions.

The clinic also relies on the support of local dentists who volunteer their time and the commitment of the VCU Dental School.

“Each fourth-year student in the school comes to Martinsville for at least one week to treat our patients, providing each student with an excellent opportunity for clinic experience,” said Crabtree.

The foundation must continue to have community support for the next year, he added.

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