by Jenny Lang-Burns
I want to acknowledge the incredible work the dental team does every day. It feels as though our dental team does not get enough recognition for their work. I am nominating Cathy Lettice who shared what she does every day to improve the lives of our patients. I have had the honor of getting to work with her for the past several years in Avon and Edwards and repeatedly have been impressed with her dedication. When I attend the Health Services Advisory Committee, all members speak so highly of her work to improve the dental health of the youngest, most vulnerable population.
I can only speak for what I do here in Avon in SMILES and at the Edwards clinic. I know our “off sites” each look different. Our models for SMILES & CO MDI do not look anything like hygiene in a general practice location such as Basalt or Rifle, which is why our needs are so different. Here I work with the Early Headstart & Headstart Preschool Programs to get the children their required biannual dental screenings & care. I work with the program directors to track each child who is due or who had restorative dental needs. I am able to pull some of the Headstart Preschool children for their dental appointments from their classroom in Avon Elementary which has been great.
I work with a local charitable program called Eagle County Smiles which is ran through the Vail Valley Charitable Foundation. This provides dental care to uninsured, Eagle County children up to the age of 18 through local dental offices at a cost to the family of just $25 per visit. I work as a gatekeeper for this program. As a gatekeeper, we help uninsured families fill out an application for the program. Then we send it over to the program director. She in turn finds a local dentist who is willing to take on the case. Once a dentist is found, I am informed of who it is and then we coordinate between the family and the dental office to set up an appointment. I follow up with each dentist and family to ensure that the necessary work has been provided.
In Edwards with adult patients, I find myself setting many of them up to see their PCP for various issues. One of the most common is high blood pressure. If a patient has medical issues, such as cancer, I contact the specialist providing care to coordinate treatments.