Global Grant GG 1746339, for $121,000, was set up to assist the Conejo free clinic to expand their services to include dental care to the needy families that live in Ventura County. The clinic has been serving Ventura County since 1976, with Dr. Frank Dawson, as Medical Director. Our grant supplied most of the equipment and supplies needed to open the clinic. The Thousand Oaks and Tijuana Rotary Clubs partnered to write and support the grant. The Rotary Clubs that were instrumental in raising funds were: Westlake Village, Moorpark Noon, Newbury Park, Simi Noon, Bakersfield Twilight, and Coronado Bilingual Rotary Clubs. Also, DDF Funds were contributed from Districts 5240, 4100, 4140, and 3291. The grant was authorized by Rotary International during the first week of July, 2017. By mid-August 2017, the funds were sent to the Thousand Oaks Rotary Club’s bank account. The funds were transferred to the Conejo Free Clinic and the equipment was purchased and installed by Henry Schein Dental Company by the first week of September, 2017. Matt Lallo, a member of the Thousand Oaks Rotary Club, and his son Michael Lallo, were present during the week it took to install the equipment. All the equipment was checked in off the list by Rotarian Matt Lallo, Conejo Free Clinic Executive Director, Teresa Seeley, and Conejo Free Clinic Development Director, Susan Murphy, as it was being installed. During the installation the City of Thousand Oaks required a water supply backflow valve to be installed in the clinic. Frank Corrigan, a past Thousand Oaks Rotary President and owner of Accurate Backflow, assisted in this matter.
On September 20, 2017, The Conejo Free Clinic had an open house to celebrate their new dental clinic. There were over 100 people present for this event, food and drinks were served. Those present included: Dr. John Graeser, Dental Director, members from all the clubs that helped raise funds for the project, Jacqui Irwin, our State Assembly Representative, and members from our local newspapers. Photos of this event will be included.

The Conejo Free Clinic is happy to share a new update on its new Dental Clinic with Rotarians everywhere. We are thrilled to have such a large and important Rotary “foot print” throughout our new state of the art dental facility that opened in January after almost three years of planning, fund raising and construction.

We have already received an astonishing hundreds of calls for care thus far. We are currently taking care of approximately six to ten patients per week. The facility is capable of taking care of approximately 40 – 50 patients per week. The funding for the material is based on five to ten patients per week, so we will have to increase the funding to cover this additional patient care. We well know that the need is sadly enormous in unmet dentistry for the underserved… It is at crisis levels in our Ventura County as well as most everywhere. We are striving to meet as much of this need as humanly possible now, and for years to come, and are grateful for our Rotary partnership.

Examples of our first patients have been an inspiration to all of us here, and we hope all Rotarians will share the deep pride and emotion we feel. One woman who stood out in particular was found to have a mouth tumor. The ability to have Dr. Graeser and Dr. Dawson check her out was instrumental in having an MRI of her brain to determine that the tumor was not malignant and the dentist work could proceed.

The Conejo Free Clinic dental staff includes an all-volunteer team of four dentists and five hygienists at this time. The clinic is open two days per week, five hours per day, serving the patients. Our goal is to have 15 – 20 of dentists and hygienists and be open 32 hours per week.

More and more, the dental profession is joining with us. Our newest supporters are the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society, the Ventura County Dental Hygienists Association, Colgate Toothpaste and the Weingart Foundation We are proud to display the plaque honoring Rotary in our Dental Clinic lobby. We know absolutely that there is great respect for Rotary in the community and that your support has inspired new dentists and donors to be a part of this work.

We look forward to providing regular updates. All of us at the Conejo Free Clinic reiterate our admiration and appreciation to Matt Lallo of Thousand Oaks Rotary for the very significant time, personal effort and unwavering enthusiasm he has given to us and to our new Dental Clinic for the past three years.