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2012 Health Care Champions Honoree: Dr. Sarah Mahaffey

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Dentist Sarah Mahaffey believes her role is one of service both professionally and civically.

The Topeka, Kan., native received a bachelor’s in chemistry from Fort Hays State University before attending dental school at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

After graduation, Mahaffey went to work as an associate for Fox Grape Family Dentistry before joining her father-in-law’s practice, Mahaffey Family Dentistry LLC, where her husband, Darren, also practices.

Sarah Mahaffey says she strives to keep up with new developments in technology and knowledge in dentistry, and she attends continuing education courses and programs by the Missouri Dental Association, the American Dental Association and the American Association of Women Dentists.

Mahaffey has engaged in community interaction in a number of ways.

She completed a dental mission trip to Venezuela in 2004; she was a part of Mission of Mercy for both Kansas and Oklahoma; and she has participated in Give Kids a Smile since 2005.

In September 2011, Sarah and Darren Mahaffey took on the task of bringing Mission of Mercy to Missouri.

Mahaffey worked to organize volunteers, funds and supplies, as well as food for the volunteers and attendees.

“My husband and I were both inspired as we knew surrounding states all had sponsored Mission of Mercy events, so we started to make phone calls to these states trying to figure out how they work,” she says.

Once the Missouri Dental Association Foundation accepted the Mahaffeys’ proposal, the plan took flight.

With the help of volunteers, nearly 2,000 patients received care. The clinic provided 1,477 filings, 2,922 extractions and 573 cleanings. In all, more than $1 million of free dental service was provided to community members, she says.

“Springfield was really wonderful about embracing the project,” she says.

The 30-person planning committee for the project was able to raise $150,000 through a grant, fundraising and donations to make the vision a reality. Mahaffey says more than 200 dentists from across the region donated her time to the cause.

“There are people in our community who received more then dental treatment through (Missouri Mission of Mercy),” she says.

“They received a new sense of hope and for that I am sincerely grateful.”

Click here for full coverage of the 2012 Salute to Health Care.

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