GURDON, Ark. – The sound of a new school year reverberates through Gurdon hallways.
But, a different sound echoes around the corner: a dentist at work inside the high school.
“We’re doing some preventative and restorative services on some of our students,” Dr. Adam Delee says.
Dr. Delee is the only dentist in Gurdon, a town of about 2,000.
Since 2012, Delee has been providing dental services out of the high school as part of a federal grant. A new, $69,000 federal grant has paid for upgrades, allowing Dr. Delee to perform just about any service he would normally do at his traditional office.
“It’s been a great program for rural areas in Arkansas,” Dr. Delee says.
“Well, it’s really convenient for parents because they don’t have to take off work,” Wendy Schaeffer, the school’s health center coordinator, says. “Their kids don’t have to miss school.”
From class to the chair takes a smaller bite out of a student’s time than traveling across town.
All appointments are done in the district’s wellness center and paid for with a family’s insurance.
On this particular day, Dr. Delee has already seen more than 20 students.
“I just enjoy the opportunity to serve some kids where there’s a true need.”
In addition to dental services, Gurdon’s schools’ wellness center also offers mental health services and starting next month, it will also provide medical services as well.