Marian Dental Clinic celebrates 35 years of care for underserved Topekans

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Tuesday marked 35 years since Marian Dental Clinic started providing care to underserved members of the Topeka community, creating access to an often overlooked sector of healthcare.

The clinic brought in its community partners for a celebration with food, games, and information about community health resources to drive home the message of comprehensive patient care.

“If you don’t have your teeth clean, they can be very detrimental,” says Billy Parker, a patient at Marion Dental Clinic. “You know what just you know keep up with your health and to know the things that you need to get prosperity and grow as a person. You have to take care of yourself.”

Of those community partners present at Tuesday’s celebration was Sydney Weakland, an enrollment specialist with the Midland Care PACE program. She says it’s important for health professionals to work together.

“We’re all just partners in the community, all of us medical people because we’re all one big team in the end,” says Weakland. “None of us can really operate without the other programs. So we all come together and help and pick up in the areas that one program can’t provide them. We work with another program that can provide that service.”

Organizers of the event emphasized the value of dental care in itself, but also as a way to screen for other health conditions, which Marian Dental Clinic can then refer to one of its community partners for treatment.

“Dental care is health care and I know a lot of people don’t know that but poor dental health, it can create a myriad of other issues,” says Michelle Surber, executive director of Caritas Clinics of Kansas. “so we’re attempting with very sore but the patient’s not only get screened for their health care, they’re getting screened and taken care of. So it’s one step in making sure that they are healthy citizens with within the community.”

Marian Dental Clinic is located at 3164 SE 6th ave in Topeka. It’s an affiliate of Caritas Clinics, which also oversees the Saint Vincent Clinic in Leavenworth and Duchesne Clinic in Kansas City.