02-24-2018  8:05 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

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AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

The clinic was named after former Multnomah County Health Department Director, Billi Odegaard. She is seen here center, with her successor Lillian Shirley at left and Commissioner Deb Kafoury, right.

Multnomah County opened its sixth dental health safety net clinic today, at Central City Concern on Northwest Broadway. The clinic will serve homeless and very low-income people at Central City Concern's new building. The state-of-the art clinic has the latest dental imaging, electronic dental records all in a beautiful third-floor office space with views of downtown Portland.

"I'm so excited," said dental assistant Liz Hughes. "I just can't wait to see the look on patients' faces when I bring them back here."

The clinic will serve people in need who live in the downtown area. Central City Concern has won numerous awards for its work since 1992.  

The Billi Odegaard Clinic is named after the former director of Multnomah County Health Department, who retired in 1999 after almost 30 years.

"She improved virtually everything about health in this county", said Jeff Cogen, Multnomah county chair.




Odegaard won a federal grant to create the first safety-net health clinic in the county, he said. Today the county serves 75,000 people a year in eight neighborhood clinics. And students can access healthcare at 13 school-based health centers.

"For many of these children, if they didn't have these clinics in their schools they wouldn't have access to any healthcare," he said.

Dental assistants, Ari Puente, left, and Liz Hughes said they are excited to work with clients in the state-of-the-art clinic


Lillian Shirley, the current health department director, said the project spoke to the power of partnerships.

Dr. Beverly Cutler will direct the dental care. Cogen said Dr. Cutler happens also to be his dentist, although her other clinic isn't quite as good.

 "This has been a good week." he said.

Odegaard was in the audience, alongside county staff, health board members and donors who helped finance the clinic.

See more photos of the clinic and the opening ceremony on The Skanner News Facebook page.

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