UWNEMN, CDS to partner on new Iron Range Clinic

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN)'s Smiles United program was established in 2009 when UWNEMN partnered with Children's Dental Servics (CDS) to bring its free and reduced cost mobile dental care to underinsured and uninsured children in schools across UWNEMN’s service area (at the time, Iron Range and Koochiching County, and now including Lake of the Woods County). Since 2020, CDS has also provided this care to patients of all ages in community sites across the region, UWNEMN’s building in Chisholm among them.


CDS has begun the process to open a dental hub for its program on the Iron Range, and UWNEMN has signed on as the organization’s first official partner in the project.

“We know our original partnership has made lifechanging impacts over the last 15 years, and we are both proud to extend the partnership into the clinic project and excited to see the difference it will make in our region,” said UWNEMN Executive Director Erin Shay.

While the project is in early stages, once established, the clinic will serve patients of all ages regardless of insurance status. Mobile care to schools and community sites will not only continue but improve thanks to this new hub, according to CDS Executive Director Sarah Wovcha.

“Given the more than 4,000 regional patients of record Children’s Dental Services currently serves, bringing a brick and mortar clinic to the Iron Range is a logical and critically needed step,” Wovcha added. “Portable care will continue at existing community sites, and capacity will grow by also having a new clinical facility.”

CDS has been dedicated to improving the oral health of children from families with low incomes through accessible treatment and education since 1919. The organization is the only of its kind in Minnesota to provide mobile care across the state without a local dental hub; while they are in the process of opening a clinic in Duluth, their nearest full-service clinic at this time is in Minneapolis.

“Children’s Dental Services is thrilled to expand access to care across the Iron Range with a clinical facility located there that will offer a full range of preventive, restorative and urgent dental care for people of all ages,” Wovcha said. “We are grateful to work in partnership with UWNEMN and the local Dental Task Force as we move forward.”

To make an appointment for one of Children's Dental Services' local community sites, call 612-746-1530 or 866-543-6009.