Q&A with Lilian Marsh, Executive Director

August 20, 2014 Posted by admin

What was MFDH like when you joined?

When I joined in 2002, we were providing $480,000 of donated dental services for 250 patients. Twenty-five years later, we’ve more than doubled that amount – $1.2 million a year for 465 patients. Of course, none of this would be possible without my dedicated team of patient care coordinators and our incredibly supportive board of directors. The board president, Dr. Murray D. Sykes, is committed to the foundation’s mission, and provides me with endless guidance.

Do any particular memories of your time at MFDH stand out?

My first week on the job, I spoke to John, a quadriplegic living in a nursing home. In his thirties, John was disabled by a car accident while driving to his job in Frederick. After many months in a hospital, he was moved to a nursing home – he had no family to take care of him. And he could barely eat – the accident had left him with broken teeth and a broken jaw. Each time I called John, a nurse had to put him on a speaker phone. DDS donated dentures so that John could eat again – his only pleasure in life. “Lilian, I can finally eat,” he said, “and your phone calls have meant so much to me, to know that somebody cares enough to check up on me.” I spoke to John off and on for four years until he died of pneumonia. When I learned of his passing, I walked outside to cry.

Working at MFDH sounds very rewarding.

It is rewarding because we touch so many lives. The work we do would not be possible without the committed support of our community of volunteer dental health professionals. DDS has more than 500 volunteer dentists from across the state. I wish I could visit every one of them to thank them personally, but I know our patients do that through their heartfelt letters and cards.

What is your vision for MFDH’s future?

I hope to see a day when all Maryland residents have access to dental health care.

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