Mission of Mercy:
Professional Volunteer FAQs

The Michigan Dental Association Foundation and the Michigan Dental Association have partnered to host the 2020 Mission of Mercy project; a special statewide dental access program to be held May 28 – May 31, 2020 at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint. Mission of Mercy will represent Michigan dentistry’s largest free dental clinic event this year.

Dr. Steve Harris, of Detroit District, is serving as chair of the 2020 Mission of Mercy event, with Drs. Shelly Jones and Connie Verhagen serving as Co-Chairs. The Michigan Dental Association Foundation welcomes individuals who have a passion for dentistry and caring for the underserved, to volunteer for this important project.

A number of other state dental associations and foundations have similar Mission of Mercy events. Find more information at the Americas Dentists Care Foundation website.

A Mission of Mercy (MOM) is a 100-chair dental clinic with portable dental stations set up in a large public arena. Dental screenings and services are provided on a first-come first-served basis, at no charge to those who attend. MOM combines the donated services of hundreds of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians and an array of volunteers to provide these free dental services.

Patients will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis with hundreds of patients typically lining up outside the night before. Care will be provided to adults and children. Dental services that will be provided include: gross debridement and prophylaxis, amalgams, composites, extractions, limited endodontics, treatment partials and limited CEREC crowns. Services not provided are implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, molar endodontics and 3rd molar extractions.

Volunteering at the MDA MOM provides a sense of commitment and service with ourselves, our communities and our state. It is a soul satisfying experience because it comes from the goodness of your own heart, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Your service to the MDA MOM event also highlights the continued problem of access to care to the citizens, Legislature and leaders of Michigan.

There are approximately 18 site-selection criteria, including:

  • A strong local dental society with dentists interested in helping plan and volunteer.
  • Local community involvement to help with recruiting community volunteers and fundraising (dollars and in-kind donations).
  • A venue that can house a dental treatment project the size of MOM, along with sufficient local hotels and other housing options for 900-plus volunteers.

You can download the Mission of Mercy Future Site Evaluation Form.

The Michigan Dental Association Foundation Mission of Mercy will be held on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30, 2020, at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint. Doors open at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and close when we have reached our capacity that day. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis, so we strongly encourage you to come early and expect long lines.


Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center
3501 Lapeer Road
Flint, MI 48503
Google Map/Directions


From I-69 East:
Take Exit 138 (Dort Highway –M-54). Turn right and drive south to Lapeer Road. Turn left on Lapeer Road and travel east to Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Turn left into the parking lot and follow the signs to Volunteer Parking.

From I-69 West:
Take Exit 139 (Center Road). Turn left and drive south to Lapeer Road. Turn right on Lapeer Road and travel west to Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Turn right into the parking lot and follow the signs to Patient Parking.


Yes, free volunteer parking will be located at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Follow the signs to the Volunteer Parking Area.

All medical and dental health care professionals are required to be licensed by the state of Michigan and have a current, active Michigan license to practice. License numbers will be requested on the volunteer registration form. If you are retired and no longer have an active license, you can apply for a special volunteer license.

Anyone involved in direct patient care or sterilization must have received Hepatitis B vaccinations. Infection control practices will be maintained at all times during the event.

If you wish to provide patient treatment you must apply for a special volunteer license.

There are many wonderful non-clinical areas where you can volunteer. Patient ambassadors have an opportunity to interact with patients, to answer questions and to ease their anxiety while escorting them to the various clinic areas. Be a patient greeter or work in exit interview. Perhaps you would like to help in the hospitality area to provide food and beverages to the many volunteers.

As long as you hold an active license without restrictions in another jurisdiction of the United States, the Michigan State Board of Dentistry will issue you a temporary license. The temporary license is limited to individuals providing free services at the MDA Mission of Mercy, May 29-30, 2020. All you need to do is indicate on the volunteer registration form that you are an out-of-state dentist or hygienist, fill in your license number and state of jurisdiction. The MDA MOM will apply for and cover the cost of the temporary license. We are so glad you are willing to come to Michigan and help.

Michigan law does provide a qualified immunity from liability for Michigan licensed health care professionals who provide free services for charitable organizations or events. In addition, through the MDA’s Professional Protector Plan, the MDA will provide malpractice insurance for all volunteer licensed health care providers (dentists, hygienists, assistants, physicians, nurses, EMTs) at no charge, for this event.

The MDA MOM has many wonderful opportunities for students. A limited number of dental students will be allowed to provide direct patient treatment under the supervision of their dental school proctor. This event will be a great learning opportunity and we encourage students to volunteer in positions where they can interact with patients – dental triage assistant, patient education, post-op instructions, assisting in restorative or oral surgery, or patient ambassador.

There are over 500 positions available to general volunteers. Interact with patients by being a patient ambassador, in registration, translation services, waiting room coordinator, exit interview, patient greeter. You can also work behind the scenes in data processing, food and beverage service, maintenance or parking.

Absolutely, we have a limited number of volunteer positions that can be performed while sitting. Please let us know of any concerns you have on your registration application and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. If we are unable to fulfill your request or you find you are unable to perform your assigned duties, just let us know and we will see where we can utilize your talents and contributions.

In order to assure everyone’s safety, all volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

We have discount room rates at the following hotels. Click here for a complete list.

Yes, free volunteer parking will be located at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Follow the signs to the Volunteer Parking Area.

The Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center is set up as a portable dental clinic with the anticipation of seeing 700 patients per day for the two-day clinic. Add to that approximately 1,200 volunteers and you have a Mission of Mercy!

As patients register they will be asked to complete a form for basic demographic information and their health history. The form will be used for triage and to record patient treatment information. Patients will be treated based in their most urgent needs, with infection control and pain elimination as the first priority.

The clinic will be divided into several areas: Registration, Medical and Dental Triage, Radiography, Hygiene, Restorative, Pediatrics, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Prosthodontics and Lab, Pharmacy and Patient Education. In addition there are support areas such as Sterilization, Dental Supplies, Volunteer Registration, Data Processing, Hospitality as well as Food and Beverage.

A dental clinic with 100 portable dental chairs, lights and units will be set up to treat patients. The chairs will recline and the units will have access to water and suction. Given space restraints, each dentist will be able to have one dental assistant. If a dentist brings more than one dental assistant, any extra assistants will be assigned to work elsewhere in the clinic.

Children 12 and under will be treated in the pediatric clinic area.

In addition to receiving needed dental treatment, MOM patients learn the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventive dental care. They learn about the negative effects of pop, sugary beverages and tobacco products, the link between dental health and overall health, oral cancer and more.

Dental instruments and handpieces will be provided. See list of instruments in the Sterilization Protocol – ADCF. There are amalgamators and curing lights available, one for every two restorative stations and one cavitron for each hygiene station.  Dental restorative materials, burs, anesthetics and disposable dental supplies will also be available. All gloves are latex free.

Those who prefer to work with their own instruments are welcome to bring them along as it may make the experience more enjoyable. Please feel free to bring your own STERILE instruments, clearly labeled with your name. There is a process in place to help ensure you get your personal instruments back after they have been sterilized. If possible, please bring your instruments in cassettes. Instruments not in cassettes will be individually bagged. The sterilization department will process personal instruments separate from the MOM instruments.

There will be a portable dental stool for each work station but feel free to bring your own. If you wish to bring your own stool and other equipment, you may set-up you operatory on Thursday, June 9 at the clinic site between 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Please be sure all equipment brought to the clinic is CLEARLY labeled. If you are volunteering for both clinic days you may leave your equipment at your station. There will be overnight security in the clinic area.

Radiographs will consist of digital periapicals or panoramics. Select patients will have pre-treatment images taken of the tooth/teeth in question as part of the registration/triage process and prior to being seated in the post-triage waiting area.

No, nitrous oxide will not be available for dentists or hygienists to use on patients.

  • Bring any special equipment you may need such as headlamps and magnifying eyewear. Be sure they are properly labeled with your identification.
  • A nice variety of burs will be provided but if there is one you just can’t live without — bring it.
  • Curing light, since there are a limited number available.
  • There will be a portable dental stool for each dentist and hygienist but feel free to bring your own.
  • Your DEA number for prescription writing purposes.
  • Your patience, flexibility, sense of humor and the ability to make the best of any situation.

Please leave your personal belongings safely at home or locked in the trunk of your car. We do not have a secured area for you to leave them at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. We realize many people like their favorite morning coffee and will bring their own in a large size cup to drink. We suggest you leave that at home as well as only bottled water is allowed on the clinic floors. We will provide coffee and other beverages in the break room, but it must stay in the break room.

One chairside stool will be provided for each dental chair. It is intended for the dentist and hygienist to use during treatment. There will be a folding chair available for assistants; however, assistants wanting a chairside stool should bring their own, CLEARLY labeled with your name.

If you are bringing your own stool or other large amounts of equipment, there is an equipment drop-off area at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event C.

You are welcome to bring your assistant, but they must register individually. Once onsite they will be paired to work with you. If you do not bring an assistant one will be provided to you to work with. Dentists are encouraged to have their entire office sign-up; there are opportunities for everyone in the office to help. This builds staff camaraderie and they will be talking about it for months.

Department Protocols differ for each area and must be followed closely. Please review the protocol(s) for each department where you will be working. Department Protocols are:

Contact your department lead with any questions you have about a specific area’s operations. You should also review the Patient Flow Document.

We will provide work release forms to volunteers to submit to their employers to document the time spent volunteering at MOM.

Be comfortable. For Friday and Saturday, Dental/Medical professionals will be provided with a scrub top and general volunteers will be provided with a T-shirt, with the MOM logo on it. We ask that you wear the shirt provided as it helps us quickly identify volunteers versus patients. You may wear any type of pants or shorts that you will be comfortable in. The Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center is air-conditioned.

Comfortable shoes are a must! For some, your day will be spent walking or standing. For your safety, no open-toe shoes are allowed on the clinic floor. This means no sandals and absolutely no flip flops. Please don’t put us in a situation to ask you to leave, so wear shoes with toes on them and avoid the situation.

Shirts are color-coded to help you quickly identify the various volunteers.

  • General non-dental volunteers: ORANGE T-shirt.
  • Translators: RED  T-shirts.
  • Dental equipment techs: Their Company Shirts.
  • Dental/Medical professionals: GRAY scrub tops.
  • Dental Students: BLACK scrub tops.
  • Department heads: BLUE polo shirts with the MOM logo on it. NOTE: Department heads are authorized to make decisions about running the clinic.

If you are working multiple days you will be provided with a shirt for each day you are working.

Additional T-shirts will be available for sale.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided for all volunteers in the Volunteer Lounge in the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Everyone should plan to eat or drink in the Volunteer Lounge. No food or beverages, other than bottled water, will be allowed on the clinic floor. While we will do our best to accommodate special dietary needs, it may not always be possible. If your diet is especially strict, please plan ahead and bring snacks/lunch/etc.

We will host a free dinner each night and all volunteers are welcome to attend regardless of the day / amount of time you are volunteering. Thursday evening dinner and orientation will take place in the Volunteer Lounge in the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center.

A special appreciation dinner will be held on Saturday in the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Be sure to indicate on your registration form which evening dinner(s) you will be able to attend so we can plan accordingly. Saturday night a special video highlighting the event will be shown, you don’t want to miss it!

Smoking and vaping are not allowed in the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. It is allowed in cars in the parking lot.

There is a special Volunteer Entrance located off the Volunteer Parking area in the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center (follow the signs). Please use that entrance as Volunteer Registration is just around the corner in the Volunteer Lounge. You can pick up your packet and shirt at the beginning of your first volunteer shift or at the orientation dinner Thursday night. If you are working both Friday and Saturday, you will be given a shirt for each day.

Everyone is required to attend a department specific orientation session prior to working their first shift on Friday or Saturday. (There is not an orientation session required for set-up or tear-down.) Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your shift so you will have time to register and attend the pre-requisite orientation.

At Thursday evening’s dinner we will have a general orientation for all volunteers. It begins at 6:30 p.m. and you will have an opportunity to go through orientation, register, get your shirt and get a tour of the clinic.

Absolutely! A project of this magnitude requires nearly $250,000 in tax-deductible donations and in-kind contributions to cover expenses for dental equipment, facility rentals, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs. Consider donating money or in-kind products or services. Your contribution, no matter the amount, will make a difference in treating thousands of patients. Please visit the Donations page on the MDA Foundation website and click Make a Gift under the Pledge of Support box.

Please contact Jenny Armistead, director of marketing and communications at the Michigan Dental Association. Phone 517-346-9412.