Dr. Christy Kirchner: An Evolution of Involvement

west seattle dentistHere at your West Seattle dentist office, we are excited to share an article that Dr. Kirchner starred in!  Since Dr. Kirchner is a member of the Board of Directors for Seattle-King County Dental Society, she was showcased in an article that appeared in their summer quarter magazine.  Below, is a transcription of the article.  Enjoy!

 

Dr. Christy Kirchner: An Evolution of Involvement

Christy had wanted to be a dentist since she was a little girl.  For several Christmases in a row, she would ask for the Play Doh kit Dr. Drill and Fill.  Her mom didn’t like Play Doh and didn’t like much about going to the dentist, so she never got the toy.  Christy would argue that she needed the toy because, when she grew up, she was going to be a dentist.  Well, that little girl grew up and held true to her conviction and became a dentist graduating in 1999 from University of the Pacific School of Dentistry.  She did finally get the Play Doh set….as a graduation present!

Christy is a woman of energy and involvement with her community and the Seattle-King County Dental Foundation.  She first got involved with the Dental Foundation by starting on the Auction Committee in 2004.  She started with the encouragement of a colleague who was on the Committee as a fun way to get started giving back to the Foundation.  She stayed with the Committee for 5 years and moved up to chair it for two years.  She proudly led the Auction into two of its most successful years.  She says of the time spent on the Committee, “It was a great way to get involved and give back.  It helped me see how the Foundation worked.  That helped me determine what I was good at and where my energy could best go looking into the future.”

She was excited when she was nominated and subsequently took a position with the Seattle-King County Foundation Board of Directors in 2009.  She currently serves as its president after being secretary/treasurer for several years before that.  She says of the Foundation Board, “I have seen it evolve into a very focused organization with a clear mission.  Our vision and path has led us to help develop programs so the most vulnerable people of King County can gain access to no cost care.”

The Dental Foundation and Society have partnered with other organizations and worked hard over the last years to develop programs that target the most vulnerable patients and get them needed services.  Following the Foundation’s mission statement of “proactively eliminating dental infection and pain in the King County population that lacks resources and/or access to dental care,” the Foundation has funded or supported multiple programs including:

  • Providing free dental care for kidney dialysis patients in King County.  These patients must be free of all infection–including dental–before receiving life-saving kidney transplants.  Dialysis is very hard on teeth and general health so many of these patients cannot work nor can they afford this vital dental care.  So far, 17 patients have been cleared of oral infection and have had transplants after receiving free treatment.
  • Partnering with three other organizations to open a free complex oral extraction dental clinic in the Swedish Community Specialty Clinic.  This Clinic accepts referrals from the community health care clinics, our dental safety net.  Each day, those clinics saw patients who were beyond their ability to treat.  Working with partners, the Dental Society and Foundation created this Clinic to provide care.  Since its inception in September 2011, the Clinic has seen 1,019 patients, removed 3,948 teeth and, most significantly, provided $1,363,031 in donated care to date.
  • Helping to fund a brand new HealthPoint 10-chair dental clinic in Midway which will open this fall.  There are 37,000 Midway residents living in poverty and 25% of the community has no insurance of any kind.  This Clinic will provide 15,000 dental visits in this impoverished neighborhood.
  • Providing critical dental supplies to PROVAIL.  Their Johnny Johnson Dental Clinic provides free care to severely disabled adults.  Eighty-one percent of their patients report incomes of less than $10,000 a year and, more significantly,, many of these patients have nowhere else to turn.  Last year, this Clinic–staffed entirely by volunteers–treated over 228 patients and completed over 1,641 procedures.

Christy lives and has her own successful private practice in West Seattle.  She and her husband, Jason Little, a Boeing executive are raising their 2 year old son Aiden there. Aiden will soon have a sibling since Christy and her husband are expecting their second child in September.

Christy’s motivation for volunteering is simple: “I really feel that we, as dentists, need to give back.  I feel it’s my duty to help out others and this is my way of giving back.”

Article by Dr. Cynthia Pauley. 

We are so proud of Dr. Kirchner and all of her accomplishments!

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As you have possibly guessed, since Dr. Kirchner is going to have a baby soon, she will not be in the office for a couple of months.  Check back next week to see who will be minding the store (office) while she is gone!