In a telephone interview with Elizabeth Pantano, a St. Lucie County school nurse for the Florida State Health Department, who is on the frontline when it comes to ensuring the health and well-being of all school children in the district, is also the Chairperson of the St. Lucie County Oral Health Association, an informal group from various concerns in the community that serve as an advisory committee for HANDS of St. Lucie County.
According to Nurse Pantano, Ervin Valcin is the HANDS Pediatric Dental Clinic’s dental hygienist and along with Dental Assistant Patricia Johnson, makes miracles happen for many children that are in need of dental care and instructions for good daily dental hygiene. Valcin provides dental screenings, dental referrals, and oral health education to parents, children and caregivers at 12 different locations, 30 early childhood centers, Headstart, VPK to 2nd grade in St. Lucie schools, at Dan McCarty to 6th grade and at Dale Cassens Educational Complex grades 6-12 (click here to St. Lucie County School District for details).
Nurse Pantano (during interview) continuously praised Ervin Valcin for his dedication and commitment in helping over 5,000 students receive screenings and each given a toothbrush to foster daily brushing (at some schools students brush after lunch every day and some follow-up done to their homes to keep parents involved and informed about their child/children’s dental health). Nurse Pantano made known the fact that from screenings, any further dental work needed to be done is referred by Ervin Valcin to visit a dentist at which time children with dental emergencies, priorities are directed to sources to eliminate the pain and discomfort many children experience. Help with getting financial aid is also provided through Medicaid, health insurances or other sources where funding is available.
At the end of the interview Nurse Pantano stated that prior to dental screenings, parents are sent a letter to consent or opt out of this free service although the fact is that dental disease is prevalent everywhere in St. Lucie County as well as across the country and is the source for much pain and suffering that students endure.
Thanks to dedicated and committed individuals that organize and oversee the work of providing good dental care to the children of St. Lucie County from Elizabeth Pantano, to advisory committee members and then to the frontline person, Ervin Valcin who brings reality to the program as he goes forth daily making things happen for each and every child that needs help with their oral health and hygiene.
Recently, Weatherbee Elementary was visited by Ervin Valcin RHD and Patricia Johnson DA, who provided VPK to 2nd grade students’ dental screenings which is a service provided each year. Weatherbee Elementary is a “Kids at Hope School”.
For Your Information:
VPK stands for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. If you live in Florida, and your child turns 4 four years of age by September 1, your child is eligible to participate in Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program.
Kids at Hope, School/ Community Liaison
RHD: A national human services nonprofit founded in 1970, Resources for Human Development serves tens of thousands of people of all abilities every year with caring, effective and innovative programs addressing intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health, homelessness, addiction recovery and more.
See Fall for Smiles
REF: LucieLink Newsletter (SLCSD) Nov. 2014