Stark County Health Department Dental Clinic
The Stark County Health Department (SCHD) dental clinic was started in 1992 after a dental task force was convened to address the oral health needs of the community. At its inception, SCHD offered limited services a few hours a week in a dentist’s private office. By the mid 1990s, the Stark County Health Department opened a safety net dental clinic at the site where it remains today. Donated equipment and a small capital grant from the Stark Foundation helped establish the clinic space; fueling an improved work setting, the Austin Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation furnished funds for new equipment. In addition, the Ohio Department of Health has afforded a very stable and steady source of fiscal resources for the facility. Last, paired with multiple grants offered by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton at various times, SCHD has established itself as the “safety net for the safety net,” favoring the special/underserved populations in Stark County and surrounding areas.
Today, the dental clinic provides comprehensive dental care and emergency services to over 3,000 patients each year. The population is diverse in culture and economic status with emphasis on adults of all ages. These patients may have mental and physical handicaps could be indigent, incarcerated or live in halfway houses. The clinic also targets children who receive assistance from the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps program and those enrolled in Head Start. Finally, the dental clinic has opened its doors to migrant workers and their families seasonally from nearby Hartville. The Stark County Health Department dental clinic accepts all forms of Medicaid available in the county, private insurance, and assesses uninsured or partially insured patients on a sliding fee scale. There is a $20 minimal fee but service is provided regardless of the person’s ability to pay.
SCHD currently employs five full time dental staff. Byron Rossi, DDS, has been a full-time employee of the department for over eight years; he worked in private practice before realizing he enjoyed working with the clinic’s unique population. Additional dental staff includes three full-time dental assistants and a full-time dental hygienist. The dental clinic also serves as a site for The Ohio State University’s OHIO (Oral Health Improvement through Outreach) Project, a community-based dental education program that provides dental students 50 days of experience in a dental public health care environment.
Future plans for the dental clinic are to continue with the mission of providing needed care to the low income, vulnerable population in Stark County. A shorter term goal is to secure funding to transition to a fully digitized health record system for the clinic.
The SCHD dental clinic is located in the Nursing Building where all clinical services are offered to the public including WIC, Well Child, Prenatal, Women’s Health and Immunization clinics. This site is next door to the main health department. The address is 3969 Convenience Circle NW, Canton, 44718, in close proximity to the county bus service.
The hours of operation are: Monday, 11:30 am- 7:30 pm, Tuesday thru Friday, 8:30- 4:30. Information about the dental clinic and other services offered by the department can be found at www.starkhealth.org or by telephone: (330) 493-9914.
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