Donation funds Healing Hands dental clinic expansion

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Healing Hands Health Center is expanding its dental clinic thanks to a substantial donation.

A check for $400,000 from J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder was presented to Healing Hands Wednesday as work is underway at the clinic that provides dental care to low income, underinsured and uninsured people of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Services also offered by Healing Hands include medical and vision care, though dental care is the most requested, according to Helen Scott, executive director of the faith-based ministry.

“There’s just tremendous need for our services [and] the need for our services is growing,” Scott said. “We are extremely grateful for J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder’s very generous gift.”

The dental clinic expansion will add four new dental operatories, a second sterilization room, two offices and a second X-ray room to the clinic located at Midway Medical Park in Bristol, Tennessee.

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Dentist Dr. Mark Webb said working at the Healing Hands Health Center’s Dental Clinic is rewarding.

“The patients just love you,” Webb said. “They’re so appreciative of what you do.”

Webb also serves as interim student supervisor for University of Tennessee dental students who gain hands-on experience and training at the clinic. In April, the J.D. and Lorraine Nicewonder Education Center and Student Dormitory opened. That allowed more students to complete rotations at the clinic, which helps train 120 students each year, including students from East Tennessee State University.

Last year, Healing Hands had 3,600 dental visits. In its 25 years of operation, the Healing Hands Health Center has had more than 100,000 patient visits.

The expansion of the dental clinic is expected to be completed in January and will bring the total number of operatories up to 13.

For more on the mission of Healing Hands and patient eligibility, visit www.healinghandshealthcenter.org.

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