Madison nonprofit promoting Black men’s health opens free dental clinic

A Madison nonprofit with two free medical clinics and an education center aimed at improving the health of Black men is opening a third clinic, for free dental care.

“It’s the next, gradual progression of what we’re trying to do to keep Black men healthy in our community,” said Aaron Perry, founder and CEO of Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, which runs the services.

The Perry Family Dental Clinic will open Saturday inside the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County’s location in Fitchburg.







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Aaron Perry, founder and CEO of Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, talks with dental hygienist Erica Olsen, at right, as, from left, Chrissy McAtee and Carli Kollross, both with AmeriCorps, prepare for opening day at the Perry Family Dental Clinic, a free dental clinic inside the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County Allied Family Center in Fitchburg Friday.




Perry, a former UW-Madison police officer who has diabetes, started the nonprofit wellness association in 2007 to help other Black men with diabetes. In 2016, he broadened the effort by opening a Men’s Health and Education Center inside JP Hair Design, a barbershop on Madison’s West Side that caters to Black men.

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Early last year, he opened the Perry Family Free Clinic at 598 Grand Canyon Drive, next door to the barbershop, to help address needs such as care for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Many of the men who had come to the education center had high blood pressure but didn’t want to go to urgent care, for fear of incurring medical bills they couldn’t pay, Perry said. The free clinic, open 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, helps patients get medications and has a focus on diabetic foot care.

This September, the free medical clinic added a second site on Madison’s South Side, at 4303 Britta Parkway, inside Second Baptist Church. It is open 1 to 5 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.

Now, free dental care will be offered inside the Boys and Girls Club building, at 4619 Jenewein Road. The clinic will be open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday and next Saturday, Dec. 16. After a holiday break, organizers will determine when the clinic will continue, Perry said.

The clinic initially will be staffed by two dental hygienists and will provide teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments and oral cancer screenings. Later, it is hoped a dentist will provide dental care, Perry said.

Some of the men at the education center or medical clinics have had oral pain, with some of them going to emergency rooms for relief, he said.



Some of the men who visited Aaron Perry’s other facilities would go to the emergency room for oral pain. The new dental clinic is aimed at “bringing health care back to the community, where it belongs,” he said.




“We didn’t want these men to continue to use the ER for their health care,” Perry said. “We’re bringing health care back to the community, where it belongs.”

The services are supported by the state Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and SSM Health.

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