WASHINGTON, D.C.— A pilot clinic to offer free dental and mental health services to 300 individuals experiencing homelessness in DowntownDC opened this week thanks to funding provided by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) to the DowntownDC Foundation.
The Terrell A. Waters Impact Clinic launched Nov. 11 and will operate every Thursday for 16 weeks at the state-of-the-art Downtown Day Services Center facility, (The Center) located at 1313 New York Avenue NW. This clinic will provide essential dental repairs and tooth replacement through Brown Prosthodontics as well as coordinated mental health support provided through SevenP Healthcare Services, Inc.
“Since The Center began operating in 2019, we have been working to add essential dental services and shore up mental health support for individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Rachel Rose Hartman, executive director of the DowntownDC Foundation. “Thanks to funding from CareFirst and the leadership and support of Foundation board member Dr. Edward K. Brown Jr., we have a chance to vastly improve the quality of life for so many members of our community.”
The Center, operated by the Foundation’s parent organization, the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID), is funded with support from the DC Department of Human Services and partners with a host of service providers to offer basic needs including food, showers, restrooms and laundry facilities, as well as more specialized services including employment and housing assistance, on-site medical care, case management, vital records and more. The facility operates Monday-Saturday from 9am-4pm.
“CareFirst is committed to health equity where we live, work, play, and pray, and we are proud to support the work of DowntownDC Foundation as they ensure behavioral health and dentistry services are available to those experiencing housing insecurity in our nation’s capital,” said Destiny-Simone Ramjohn Ph.D., Vice President, Community Health and Social Impact for CareFirst. “Rates of mental illness among people who are homeless in the United States are twice the rate found for the general population, and this clinic meets patients where they are to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality comprehensive care. Working together, we believe we can create more sustainable, healthy communities in Washington, DC.”
The clinic will repair broken and missing teeth, supporting individuals experiencing homelessness in their ability to eat, speak, smile and effectively communicate, and set them on a potential path for a greater quality of life. In addition, mental health evaluations and consultations will be provided to all guests to help fill a need in service and support for the facility +160 guests per day.
This pilot is modeled after the Terrell A. Waters Community Dental Center in southeast Washington, DC, a nonprofit which provides accessible, comprehensive, and quality oral health care to the community through the continued efforts of Brown. Brown also runs Brown Prosthodontics, where he uses his specialty training in prosthodontics with a focus on implants, crowns, bridges, dentures and TMJ disease.
SevenP HealthCare Services, Inc. is committed to treating all individuals and family with dignity, respect, sensitivity to cultural diversity while updating progress with partners of progress. Our programs are designed to enhance client interaction and create an environment of stability.
About the DowntownDC Foundation
The DowntownDC Foundation is a registered 501c3 non-profit launched in 2019 to support the DowntownDC Business Improvement District’s (BID) philanthropic initiatives. Its mission is to enhance the DowntownDC community for all by elevating services in four key areas: homeless services, Franklin Park, public space revitalization and events and programming. For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit DowntownDCFoundation.org.
In its 84th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit healthcare company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to 3.5 million individuals and employers in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2020, CareFirst invested $27.8 million to improve overall health, and increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of healthcare throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our website at www.carefirst.com and our transforming healthcare page at www.carefirst.com/transformation, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.