The last two issues of Lane Solutions told the story of local dentist Cedric Hayden, DDS. He spent $200,000 of his and his brother’s money to outfit a mobile dental clinic, which they wanted to park in rural areas of Lane County and offer free dental care to low income residents.
But not a single rural city wanted it. Why? Most thought it was a great idea – just not in their towns.
Connecting the dots, Dr. Hayden saw a sad pattern emerging among the “public servants” who profess to care so very much about their less well off constituents and found a place where his skills and compassion would be welcome.
The place? Chuuk, Micronesia, where around 55,000 people have not one dentist.
Chuuk welcomed Dr. Hayden, offered him a place to park his mobile clinic and a six month license to practice.
His first team of volunteers spent their Christmas vacation filling cavities in Chuuk. Dr. Hayden plans to spend three months each year there offering dental care.
We say, “Dr. Hayden – Thanks for your generosity. Too bad it wasn’t welcome here.”
In Lane Solutions Issue # 58 we introduced readers to Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden, DDS. His goal was simple – he and his brother had spent $200,000 of their money to construct a mobile dental clinic. Dr. Hayden wanted to take it around Lane County, park it in rural, underserved cities and provide free dental service to low income residents. Sounds like a good deal. Right?
Here’s where it all went wrong. Rural cities didn’t want it. One said they had a zoning ordinance prohibiting shipping containers from being parked in town. Yes, Dr. Hayden’s clinic was a reconfigured shipping container. But inside, you could barely tell it from your own dentist’s office. Would the city give a waiver for medical or dental equipment? “Nyet,” ruled the commissars.
According to Dr. Hayden, who only wanted to serve the poor, about whom these cities say they care so much, the typical reaction was “Great idea – just not in my back yard.”
Watch for Lane Solutions Issue #60 and find out why a faraway island country welcomed Dr. Hayden with open arms – and open mouths waiting for a good dentist.
Ed. Note: This is the first of a three part series
Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden, D.D.S had a dream. He wanted to outfit a mobile dental clinic, staff it with volunteer dentists and hygienists, move it around rural areas in Lane Co. and offer regular, free dental care to low income Oregonians.
Here’s how it would work: Dr. Hayden would drive the clinic to a small town. He’d park it there long enough to meet local dental needs. Then he’d take it to nearby rural towns, parking it for a week or so. His goal was to visit these towns three times a year, providing regular dental treatment.
Was Dr. Hayden asking anyone to pay for his clinic? No. He and brother Matthew had already funded it with $200,000 out of their own pockets. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
As ESPN sportscaster Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.” Because his dream would turn to dust.
What went wrong? Why would small burgs in Lane Co. not welcome him and his mobile dental care facility with open arms? And why does Micronesia have the dental care that Lane County didn’t want? Find out in the next issue of Lane Solutions as we focus on one town’s “Thanks but no thanks.”