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Stowe Baptisit Center Dental Ministry

Dr. Dan Stowe and Stowe Baptist Center Dental Ministry

Dr. Dan Stowe of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, has taken a road less traveled from most private practice dentists. Dan was born a twin, along with brother, Dale, the second set of twin sons to parents with a strong religious faith. Dr Stowe’s father was a Baptist minister, missionary and church planter who proved to be a strong influence in guiding him to God’s call to ministry.

After completing high school at Columbus West, Dr. Stowe attended The Ohio State University (OSU), securing a B.S. in Biology in 1973, and then headed to dental school at OSU where he graduated with a D.D.S. in 1977. Dr. Stowe established a private practice in Mechanicsburg, and also took a faculty position at Ohio State where he remained until 1986. The call of Christian ministry was never far off and after much thought and prayer starting in 1981, Dr. Stowe sought a career Medical Missionary appointment with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, the short-term division of Medical Missions. Dr. Stowe engaged in a series of project assignments, 2-3 weeks in duration, traveling abroad two to four times a year. This proved a turning point in his life where he could now conceive that dentistry could serve as conduit, a means to an end, to accomplish his first passion, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His mission trips have taken him to many countries in the Caribbean, as well as Argentina, Russia, China, Uganda and Kenya.

Travel enriched Dr. Stowe’s experiences to help him reach another conclusion: dentists do not need to go abroad to find significant underserved population groups right in Columbus, Ohio. He now set his sights on the homeless, indigent and working poor in his home state. In 1982, Dr. Stowe established the Stowe Baptist Center Dental Ministry, named in honor of his father. He firmly committed time to work one to two nights per week to treat the underserved in downtown Columbus. His concept grew, engaging other volunteer dentists and, most recently, including optometry services. Stowe Center, as he refers to it, now paired with the Soup Kitchen, has evolved into the Social Christian Ministry, a cooperative of nearly 60 churches within the Columbus Metropolitan Baptist Association. In 2008 they accessed a new building at 888 South Parsons Avenue which features a large commercial kitchen, a 300-seat dining room, a large collection repository for the Ohio Food Bank, worship center, classrooms and, most important, dental (seven chairs) and optometric clinic space.

In the fall of 2010, Stowe Center began a new relationship with The Ohio State University as part of the OHIO (Oral Health Improvement through Outreach) Project, initially funded by a Robert Wood Johnson grant. The project requires that by the end of the 4th year in dental school each student will have spent at least 50 days of their clinical education in community-based sites providing services to an underserved population. The Ohio Project opened a whole new chapter of service in that each clinic night now includes two to three dental students supervised by licensed dentists from the Columbus Dental Society, thus becoming a referral point for such agencies as Nationwide Children’s Hospital, University Hospitals, all Columbus metropolitan emergency rooms, as well as other area social services and church ministries.

Dr. Stowe is still active in multiple practice opportunities, working full-time in three separate private offices in Mechanicsburg, Urbana and Bellefontaine, participating in local mission work on Monday and Thursday evenings, and engaging in lengthier mission trips outside of the U.S. providing dental care in remote areas of the world. When asked what message he would pass on to others whose future is in dentistry, this son of a preacher didn’t miss a beat. He said the question he returned to time and again was, “Using my education and my own personal talents, what would guide and motivate me over a lifetime? Is it ‘Success’ or ‘Significance’? The answer is simple. When you significantly help your fellow man, in the name of Christ, regardless of the venue, you will experience a level of unlimited gratification, joy and purpose: success!”

To learn more about the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio, visit http://stowecenter.com.

Ohio Food Bank Mission trip to Uganda
Ohio Food Bank Mission trip to Uganda

June 2011

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