SAFFORD — MiQuel McRae saw a problem in rural Arizona and was moved to do something about it.
And after some two years of preparation, the organization she founded took its first steps last month.
McRae, a licensed dental hygienist, set out to improve the oral health of children of Graham and Greenlee counties by bringing education and preventive care directly to schools.
“I was at a dental hygiene convention a few years ago, and it was a huge subject how the oral health is so poor in rural areas, particularly Greenlee County,” she said. “At that time I got motivated and inspired to do something about it.”
McRae’s inspiration led her to establish a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization named Tooth B.U.D.D.S. (Bringing Understanding of Dental Disease to Schools). “I started this in response to the disparities in oral health care in Graham and Greenlee counties. We are an organization of affiliated practice dental hygienists, licensed to not only provide sealants and fluoride to the students but to do actual cleanings on children’s teeth in the schools.
“I have also become a community dental health coordinator through Rio Salado (College), so I am licensed to work in the community as a dental health coordinator.”
Tooth B.U.D.D.S. got off the ground in late July at the Boys and Girls Club of the Gila Valley, where McRae gave students oral health tips and free cleanings.
“I’m doing my pilot program right now,” she said, “launching Tooth B.U.D.D.S. at the Boys and Girls Club before school starts.”
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