For many rural Americans, poverty, drug abuse and/or poor nutrition can lead to tooth decay.
Linda Ryan is executive director of Frederick, Maryland-based Mission of Mercy. The independent, nonprofit and faith-based community organization provides free health and dental care, and prescription medications to uninsured and underinsured people.
Mission of Mercy, founded in 1991 and launched in 1994, does not receive government funding, which means patients who utilize its services don’t need proof of poverty or residency.
The organization has a mobile dental unit operated by medical professionals including volunteer dentists who visit rural communities in various parts of Maryland and