Lou Chmura, DDS, Marshall, Mich (pictured), is volunteering his time and services to the Community HealthCare Connections’ (CHC) Community Dental Access Initiative’s (CDAI) pilot program. CHC has recently expanded its dental services to include orthodontic care to low-income patients in Calhoun County, Mich. Patients in the program trade community service hours for treatment.

The pilot program builds off of CDAI’s Dentists’ Partnership initiative, which offers urgent dental care to uninsured and underinsured individuals. Chmura recently placed braces on the program’s first orthodontic patient and will continue to provide follow-up care.

"We got really lucky with our first patient. His goal is to make the world a better place. He was already volunteering," Chmura says. "This is going to make such a difference to him." Chmura sees the program as an opportunity to use his skills to give back to the community.

Prior to receiving care, patients perform 4 hours of community service for every $100 of treatment. The program’s volunteering requirements are modeled on Habitat for Humanity’s concept of sweat equity.

"The program continues our pay-it-forward initiative," said Samantha Pearl, executive director of CHC.