Mobile dentist offices to roll out in Southwest Detroit in 2022

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Residents in Southwest Detroit will have access to two mobile dental clinics early next year through an initiative aimed at providing quality oral health care to the community.

The Motor City Kares initiative, a $500,000 effort, will provide custom clinics to be operated by two minority-led dental health providers: Hygiene on Wheels Inc. and My Community Dental Centers.

“We are not solely investing in dental care but lifting up minority entrepreneurs so they can provide critical access to care right here in Detroit," Margaret Trimer, vice president of strategic partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, said in a statement Tuesday. 

The initiative is a collaboration between Delta Dental of Michigan, Ford Motor Company Fund and Kare Mobile.

The clinics are Ford Transit vans that will be converted into mobile dental offices by the end of the year and launched in early 2022, officials said. Delta Dental purchased the Ford Transits, the Ford fund provided the equipment and Kare Mobile will perform the vehicle upgrades, officials said.  

“I was already providing service with a small portable unit, but this opportunity is allowing me to grow my business, establish even more of a presence in the community and, ultimately, serve and help even more people,” said Deanna Alexander, a dental hygienist and owner of Hygiene on Wheels. “Mobile dentistry is the future and this van is going to be the best thing ever for me.”

Under a two-year agreement, both businesses will be required to spend at least half of their mobile unit’s time operating in the city’s Corktown and Mexicantown neighborhoods. The businesses can keep their mobile clinics after two years. 

Dr. Deborah Brown, CEO of My Community Dental Centers, said many residents face challenges stemming from poverty, unemployment and health disparities.

"Reliable transportation is one of the most common barriers for patients," she said. "These challenges are heightened for persons with lower incomes or for those enrolled in Medicaid. ... We are so pleased to be a part of this partnership providing a mobile solution to improve access to dental care within these two communities — delivering one smile at a time.”

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN