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Dentist unretires to take on new role with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic

The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has welcomed Gene J. McElhinney, DDS, as a dental provider for the YVFWC Mobile Unit and dental educator through their partnership at YV-TECH.

Dr. McElhinney has had a long, distinguished career in public dental health, retiring from the Yakama Indian Health program in 2011. Determined to continue serving the community, Dr. McElhinney joined YVFWC this spring.

Prior to becoming a dentist, Dr. McElhinney earned a BS degree in biology and a MS degree in education. After teaching high school for three years he decided to pursue a career in health care and enrolled in dental school. Upon completion of the dental program, Dr. McElhinney became a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service where he was assigned to the Indian Health Service. Dr. McElhinney was assigned to a number of different locations in the U.S. before being assigned as the director of the Toppenish Yakama Indian Health Program in 1991. After retiring from the Commissioned Corps in 2005, Dr. McElhinney contracted with Yakama Indian Health program to provide urgent dental care to walk-in patients.

In 2011 the program could no longer fund his contract, therefore, Dr. McElhinney retired once more.

After spending a few months in retirement, Dr. McElhinney decided that he wasn’t quite ready to end his career and therefore came out of retirement to work with the YVFWC Mobile Unit and YV-TECH dental training program.

The mission of YVFWC Mobile Medical & Dental program is to provide health care services and education for remote populations with minimal opportunities to improve their health - a mission Dr. McElhinney has supported throughout his professional career.

The mobile unit will travel to a number of community outreach events this summer. Those who want to take advantage of the medical services can follow the outreach events schedule on facebook.com/yvfwc to see where the mobile unit will be next.

The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic provides comprehensive medical, dental and social services in several Pacific Northwest communities. In Washington state, there are clinics in Grandview, Prosser, Pasco, Spokane, Toppenish, Yakima, Walla Walla and Wapato.

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