For the first time since 2019, the Seattle Center Foundation kicked off the Seattle King County Clinic last Thursday at Seattle Center. The free clinic serves people in the greater Seattle area with medical, vision, and dental care regardless of their income or insurance status.
The clinic is a project of the Seattle Center Foundation and is run entirely by volunteers and with the help of sponsorships and in-kind donations from community partners. This year, as in years past before the hiatus, Delta Dental of Washington partnered with Arcora Foundation as two of the event’s sponsors.
It was a spectacular event that we feel lucky to have been a part of. Throughout several of the multi-use buildings at Seattle Center from April 27-30, there were medical, vision, and dental providers, along with social workers and other advocates working to provide aid to thousands of people from places across western Puget Sound, speaking more than two dozen languages.
The care that volunteers provided included basic preventative care like physicals and dental exams but also included extensive procedures like tooth extractions, fillings, x-rays and more.
Both Delta Dental of Washington and its foundation partner, Arcora Foundation, were represented in the clinic itself by volunteers, as well.
Arcora Foundation Associate Program Officer, Matt Gonzalez was there helping to sterilize dental equipment.
“It’s really great to see people in the community who need this care get it and get it in such a great and efficient way,” said Matt.
Meanwhile, Delta Dental of Washington board member, Dr. Chris Pickel, was there at 6 am triaging patients, often speaking through an interpreter to ensure his patients received the right information and were referred to the correct specialist waiting for them elsewhere in the clinic.
It’s important to Delta Dental of Washington that we use our resources wherever and whenever we can to help the community find access to equitable and accessible oral healthcare. Most oral disease is almost entirely preventable but there are certain populations around the state for whom preventive care – and care in general – is simply out of reach. Data show Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native children have a 50% higher rate of tooth decay compared to white children. Nearly twice as many Black second and third graders — 18% — experience untreated tooth decay compared to white children in the same grades — 10%. Delta Dental of Washington is committed to finding ways to close these gaps and build a healthier Washington.
We recognize that these kinds of temporary free clinics are not a long-term solution but are integral right now to a more equitable healthcare environment. Until access is easier for everyone, Delta Dental of Washington and Arcora Foundation will be there, in the community, volunteering and building programs that move us all toward a cavity-free Washington.