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Virginia Dental Association Receives Governor’s Award for Mission of Mercy Volunteer Efforts

May 11, 2015

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently recognized the Virginia Dental Association for the volunteer efforts of its dentists through the Mission of Mercy program.

The state dental association received one of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards, which highlight the outstanding efforts that people and organizations make on behalf of the commonwealth.

Missions of Mercy are one- and two-day events at which dentists converge in large-scale, temporary clinics to provide free services for the nation’s most underserved people.

The Virginia Dental Association created the program in 2000. Since then, it has expanded significantly, serving an estimated 177,000 people in 28 states across the country and providing nearly $107 million in free services.

During the past 15 years, Mission of Mercy programs have served nearly 60,000 patients in Virginia, according to Virginia Dental Association Executive Director Dr. Terry Dickinson, noting that the governor has witnessed firsthand the positive effects of these events.

“The governor attended one of our events last year, and it really illustrated for him the number of people who go without dental care,” said Dr. Dickinson. “He tells stories of being there and seeing people lined up and waiting to be treated.”

The Virginia Dental Association Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the state dental association, has four more Mission of Mercy events planned this year in communities throughout the state.