Doctors flying in with free dental and vision care

Mia Fisher, a dental hygienist with the Morongo Basin Health District’s community health center, works on a patient at April's Flying Doctors event. At right is Kazni Beach, a dental assistant.

JOSHUA TREE — The Flying Doctors will return to the Morongo Basin next year to offer local residents free dental and vision care.

The Flying Doctors provided free dental and vision care and chiropractic services in April on the campus of Copper Mountain College. The Morongo Basin Healthcare District announced the return of the nonprofit group this week.

The Flying Doctors will offer free dental and vision care from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 25, 2020, in the Bell Center on the CMC campus.

These all-volunteer professionals, including dentists, hygienists and optometrists, will help Morongo Basin families with their immediate dental and vision needs.

Free vision and dental services will be offered for the uninsured, under-insured and underserved.

Volunteers are needed in the following specialties: general dentistry, dental hygienists, optometrists, opticians, nurses and optical techs. Part-day shifts are available. All equipment, supplies and personal protective equipment are provided to practitioners.

The one-day medical event at the Bell Center gathered big crowds in April.

Some people camped out the night before to ensure one of the coveted spots for services. The doors opened at 7:45 a.m. No documentation was required to receive care.

“Some people were here as early as 10 p.m.,” said Jeff Grabow, vice president of the Southern California chapter of the Flying Doctors.

Help wanted from local practitioners

Flying Doctors officials said at that time they planned to add five more chairs for a total of 20 at their next event.

“I wish when we return that we have more local support,” Grabow said. “We asked for local help.”

In April, the first 65 adults and children in line for vision care received a free eye exam and walked out with a free pair of prescription glasses if needed.

Tracy Potts, of Yucca Valley, was happy to be one of the 65 who got vision care.

“This went really good,” Potts said while picking out his new glasses. “The eye doctors are great! They did not rush. They asked a lot of good questions.”

Dentist Larry Tabor, from Northern California, agreed local support is a must.

“We need a few more locals,” Tabor said in spring. “We definitely need local optometrists.”

For dental, the first 150 adults and children in line received free dental procedures including teeth cleaning, fillings and extractions.

Healing California, a nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, will again provide the dental and optometry equipment for the event.

“The new space has been great and Cooper Mountain College has been a great host,” said Tom Burley, program director for Healing California.

To volunteer, email Jeff Grabow at jeffgrabow.flyingdocs.lmv@gmail.com.

For more information visit www.MBHDistrict.org or call (760) 820-9218.

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