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Purpose Prize Fellow 2013
Goldetsky operates a mobile clinic to bring dental care to Minnesota’s most vulnerable in nursing homes and assisted-care residents.
In her two decades running On Call Clinicians, the medical staffing company she founded in the Twin Cities metro area, Judy Goldetsky became very aware that long-term care facilities struggled to provide dental care for their elderly, poor, and disabled patients. The state programs these patients relied on rarely covered dental care. Substandard oral care, research shows, often leads to significant health problems, including impaired nutrition, increased systemic infection and mental health issues.
In 2005, Goldetsky sought to change that. “After so many years of working in healthcare, I wanted to find a way to give back, as well as tackle a new challenge,” she says.
That’s when she launched an encore career with Doorstep Health Services, which provides caring and comprehensive oral healthcare services to residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities in the Twin Cities.
Every working day, DHS sets up a working dental office at one of 40 nursing homes and long-care facilities, where a dentist and assistant tend to mostly elderly poor, who often can’t travel due to fragile health, dementia, physical handicap or mental illness. Since 2007, the mobile clinic has performed 125 patient visits a week and more than 6,000 patients a year.
In 2010 Goldetsky also launched a fixed-site dental clinic to provide Twin Cities’ community members dental care on a sliding-scale.
“This has been a large, challenging, and extremely gratifying part of my life,” she says. “95% of the patients we serve would otherwise go without care.”