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Apple Tree Dental, Fairmont Mayo teaming up

FAIRMONT — Apple Tree Dental, a non-profit community clinic and critical access provider, will launch a new clinic serving people with unmet dental needs, courtesy of a five-year grant pledge totaling $2.39 million from the Schmeeckle Foundation.

The new Fairmont Center for Dental Health, to be located in the former oncology area on the west side of Mayo Clinic Health System clinic in Fairmont, was announced Monday.

The multi-million Fairmont facility will join seven other Minnesota clinics located in Madelia, Coon Rapids, Fergus Falls, Hawley, Little Falls, Mounds View and Rochester.

The Schmeeckle Foundation is a private family foundation serving Martin County in three core areas: early childhood care and education; the disabled and elderly; and promotion of the arts. Its mission is to carry on the legacy of longtime county resident Juanita Ellen (Teubner) Schmeeckle by awarding grants for the support and betterment of area residents based on their likelihood to create measurable change within the foundation’s three focus areas.

The Schmeeckle Foundation recently approved grants totaling more than $535,000 in Martin County, of which $474,000 was designated for the first phase of the new dental clinic.

Amy Long, administrator at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, said Apple Tree Dental had reached out to Mayo by way of some physician partners it had worked with in Rochester.

“They had identified a need in the Fairmont service area based on what they were seeing at their Madelia clinic,” Long said. “We see the impact that oral health has on a person’s overall physical health so this will bring another resource to the area.”

She spoke highly of the Apple Tree Dental organization which has a similar non-profit mission as Mayo, to serve the underserved.

“Why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that?” she said.

Phase I will include recruiting and hiring dentists and dental staff for the new center and in early 2020, launching a dental outreach clinic several days per month within Fairmont Mayo. During the second phase of the project, Apple Tree and Fairmont Mayo will begin remodeling the former oncology space for the new center, which will be open for services in early 2021.

The four-phase five-year project will greatly expand access to dental care to Martin County and the surrounding area. The new dental center is expected to provide dental access to 1,100 new patients during the outreach clinic phase and grow to more than 4,800 patients when the center is operating at full capacity.

Founded in 1985, Apple Tree Dental’s mission is to improve the oral health of all people, include those with special access needs who face barriers to care. Apple Tree provides comprehensive preventative care and dental treatment serves to individuals and families with special expertise in pediatric, geriatric and special needs populations.

The Schmeeckle Foundation will host a reception to honor all current and former grant recipients from 3:30-5 p.m. Sept. 17 at Fairmont Mayo.

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