EVERYONE FOR VETERANS
Everyone for Veterans (E4V), www.everyoneforveterans.org , created a unique way of approaching dental care for combat Veterans with financial needs. Distinct differences between E4V and other dental care programs for Veterans are the commitment by the dentist to return the Veteran to good oral health rather than treating one acute need, the Veteran’s spouse is also eligible for the program, and the Veteran commits to maintaining good oral health.
A powerful attribute of the E4V program: The sustainability of the dollars invested in returning the Veteran to sound oral health. Branching from the dental program is the Wingman program, which makes it possible for all members of the community to easily reach out and help a Veteran in their own communities. It takes less than five minutes to complete the online form to join as a dental provider or Wingman.
Here at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, we have combined E4V-Veteran dental care with an opportunity to teach our students the valuable lessons of selflessness and taking responsibility for the good of others. When we first implemented E4V Veteran dental care into the College of Dentistry, we could see the benefit for the Veteran receiving good dental care, the student gaining valuable dental experience and completing requirements, but we were humbled by the impact the Veteran made on the student. Consistently we were seeing students show a different type of commitment to their Veteran patients; we noticed stronger personal ownership for the Veteran’s well-being beyond dentistry. The students were making an effort to get to know their Veteran patient and the closeness developed was unique and remarkable. The support staff has a special dedication to helping the Veteran receive their care. Everyone in the school has found joy with helping a Veteran and students are asking to be given the opportunity to treat a Veteran.
All dental schools should consider the enrichment a Veteran patient will bring their college at large, their students' education in an area that can't be taught from a classroom and the benefits to society as our new generation of dentists begin their careers.
Content submitted by Dr. Richard Williamson