A local dentistry that provides compassionate care to those in need celebrated its 10th anniversary this week.

VINA Dental Clinic held its celebration party in Brighton Thursday at Oaken Transformations Sculpture and Poetry Walk. Dr. Fredric Bonine is one of the founders of VINA, which was created with a goal to provide basic dental care to under-served and uninsured residents in Livingston County. At the clinic’s celebration, Bonine shared the values that VINA has held since its inception, which are laid out in the acronym: Vision, Integrity, Need, and Action. Bonine says he and VINA’s staff use those values for guidance when providing care to their patients.

Many of the patients seen at VINA have not had dental care in a number of years, due to their inability to afford the cost of routine dental care. Bonine says their patients come from “all walks of life”, serving as a dental home to over 2,000 people in the community. Dianne McCormick, Director/Health Officer for the Livingston County Health Department, says about 10,000 local residents qualify for VINA’s services.

Since 2008, VINA has provided approximately $5 million worth of dental care and 18,000 appointments. Reflecting on the last ten years, Bonine says that’s one of VINA’s greatest achievements, in addition to garnering national recognition from the American Dental Association’s Golden Apple Award. The Golden Apple is the association’s highest honor, and is given out once a year to an outstanding group in recognition of providing public outreach in dentistry.

Bonine attributes much of VINA’s success to the community, as the clinic relies heavily on donations and volunteers to operate. Professional volunteers provide nearly half of the 150-200 one-hour dental appointments each month. (DK)