The Iowa Mission of Mercy was held October 13-14 in Waterloo.
Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM) began in 2008 with the goal of providing dental care to Iowans who lack access to dental care. The first one was held in Waterloo, and for the past 15 years, this free annual dental clinic moved around the State of Iowa. This year, IMOM returned to Waterloo. 

Over the weekend, the dentists and dental staff saw 1,080 patients. All dental care at the event is provided for free, and everyone who works at the clinic does so free of charge. Services provided to the patients include cleanings, restorations, minor oral surgery, endodontic and periodontal care as well as removable prosthodontics (e.g., “flippers”).

As reported in the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, one patient, Katlynn Quitevis, came from Des Moines and pitched a tent outside the convention center 12 hours before the event started so that she would be able to get a "flipper."

"I’m gonna smile for the first time in a very long time and actually mean it,” she said, toothless, while waiting for the flipper."

“I get teary eyed thinking that I’m getting the help, that I will be able to smile again,” she said. “It’s an amazing blessing for a lot of people and to see so many people come together just to volunteer for it, that in itself is amazing. It’s like selflessness.”

For patients like Quitevis, this care makes all the difference in the world. All in all, this event is a major public health event for our state, and it is a great opportunity for Iowa Dentistry students to grow and learn as clinicians while connecting with dentists from all over the State of Iowa.

As in previous years, the college played a vital role in providing care on Saturday. Many students, residents, and faculty and staff turned out to support the free clinics. And it isn't just dentists and dental students either. Our sterilization team plays a vital role in supporting IMOM, numerous dental assistants also serve, and some front office staff play important roles—and have for many years.

And a special shout out to Dean Clark Stanford who not only spent all day Friday and half of Saturday treating restorative patients, but also helped out second-year dental students in the anesthesia station for patients that were to receive restorative or oral surgery care.

Zach Kouri ('03 DDS) served as IMOM's clinic chief, and Carrie McKnight, clinical associate professor of oral pathology, radiology, and medicine, spearheaded Iowa Dentistry's participation in IMOM.