10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Commissioners in Monongalia County praise upgrade of the Smile Express

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With a grant of $500,000, the Monongalia County Health Department will deploy a new mobile dental clinic.

The new vehicle will replace the 2005 retrofitted Winnebago used as Smile Express I since 2018.

Over the years, the program has been supported by area Rotary chapters, the West Virginia Oral Health Program and the Monongalia County Commission. Commissioner Sean Sikora said this program is, in his opinion, one of the most impactful initiatives for the community.

“It really is a big deal, and I’ve said it before,” Sikora said. “That particular program is one that I’m most proud of for this commission to be a part of.”

MCHD Dental Hygienist Tiffany Summerlin has been the top supporter of the Smile Express program and the leading reason the grant was secured. The grant from Aetna will fund the new, custom-built Smile Express II.

During the regular meeting of the Monongalia County Commission, Tiffany’s husband and President of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, Jamie Summerlin, explained that this new version of the Smile Express is truly a purpose-built vehicle.

“For a new Smile Express R.V. to be custom built from the ground up,” Summerlin said. “This is actually the way they are supposed to be done, as opposed to retrofitting an RV.”

The Smile Express has operated over a six-county area and started with a 2005 Winnebago funded by a $175,000 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation. The program has been vital to promoting dental health in rural areas of the state.

“I think it’s going to be something that could be a banner opportunity for the county and Monongalia County Health Department to showcase around the country what’s being done, and she’s a tremendous advocate for dental health,” Summerlin said.

During Sikora’s public comment, he continued about how important good dental health or the possibility of a dental intervention for someone in a rural area can be for the rest of their life.

“At ages 7, 8, 9, or 10, you can change the trajectory of an entire life just by helping their appearance; kids are so focused on appearance,” Sikora said.

More News

More information released on suspect in case of woman's body found near Martinsburg
The body was found on a burning couch May 6.
May 23, 2024 - 8:05 am
MetroNews This Morning 5-23-24
Summary of West Virginia news, sports, weather for Thursday, May 23, 2024
May 23, 2024 - 6:25 am
Yeager Airport approves next year's budget, looks ahead to various projects
Wednesday, CRW board members approved the budget for the Fiscal Year 2025 at just over $13 million which starts July 1.
May 23, 2024 - 2:30 am
Bikers roll through West Virginia on way to D.C. in "Run for the Wall"
It's the 36th annual Run for the Wall which honors veterans leading up to Memorial Day.
May 22, 2024 - 10:00 pm