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On August 12 and 13, the Georgia Dental Association hosted a free clinic to provide dental care at no cost to low- and no-income Georgia adults. The program, dubbed “Georgia Mission of Mercy” (GMOM), has received national attention for the association’s efforts to provide a valuable health service to people who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

The event, which took place over two days to accommodate the over 2,100 people who came for dental care, featured 1,500 volunteers and Georgia Dental Association members. The association partnered with the First Baptist Church of Woodstock (GA) to host the clinic. Participants were not only given free care but were educated on good oral hygiene and maintaining dental health. The association also used the event to draw attention to the health problems facing low- and no-income citizens in the state and to challenge lawmakers and the public to work together to improve oral health in the state.

The program was the result of long-term planning; the GDA House of Delegates approved the plan to conduct the clinic in January 2010. The association created a foundation to raise tax-deductible funds to finance the clinic’s logistics, and affiliated with the America’s Dentists Care Foundation Missions of Mercy, to provide support and a template for the program.

The success of GMOM spurred local and national media attention to the event. National programs such as CNN Headline News, NBC World News Tonight (video above), and the Today Show all had segments on the initiative, as well as intense coverage from local and online media.