Funds given to help dentist and clinic


Lucy Li

Beside Dr. Ridella’s clinic at 901 Menoher Blvd. in Westmont, there is a tooth fairy castle for children.

Yang Chen, Sports Editor

The Highmark Foundation company has donated $25,000 for Laurel Highlands Free & Charitable Medical Clinic to help low-income Cambria County residents who are not covered fully by insurance.

Some of the money can be used to provide dental service.

The current clinic program, started in August and is to run to the end of June, is expected to help 80 individuals with medical care.

Rosalie Danchanko, executive director at Laurel Highland Free & Charitable Medical Clinic since 2013, said the money will be used to help cover cost incurred by volunteer medical providers.

“The only thing that providers need to do is donate their time for patient service,” Danchanko said.

Felipe Lucio, clinic office manager since 2014, said the Highmark Foundation has provided $250,000 to help provide medical services from 2014 to 2016.

“Dentist John David Ridella used to help us a lot.

“We didn’t finish our contract with him yet, but I think Ridella will help us out.

“This program is great for our patients. It can provide proper care to our patients.

“Doctor-donated time is much needed in this community,” Lucio said.

According to Danchanko, Ridella is the only volunteer dentist with the clinic. 

Ridella graduated from Pitt-Johnstown in 1982, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School at 1988.

Ridella said his services have helped 62 clinic patients with procedures aimed at functionality.

“I gave them functional dental service to make sure that they can eat without problems.”

Ridella said he plans to continue to provide service for clinic patients.

 “I don’t know about the details for the new program, but I’ll take patients from Danchanko,” he said.

“Due to accepting a lot of new patients in this week, I’ll just take a limited number of patients from the clinic.

“I’m just part of this program to help this community and the staff at the clinic will handle the whole process, and I agree to help them with non-profit service.

“I think this is a great chance for me to pay back my community,” Ridella said.