Dr. Danny Stowe

Dr. Danny Stowe

Access to Dental Care Award Winner

For its outstanding efforts in providing increased access to dentistry for Ohioans in underserved areas through free or reduced fee dental care, the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio Dental Clinic will be honored with the Access to Dental Care Award during the Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held Friday, Sept. 16, in conjunction with the 145th Ohio Dental Association Annual Session in Columbus.

“Receiving the award is very gratifying,” said Dr. Danny Stowe, Chief of Staff of the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio. “It is especially rewarding coming from those friends and colleagues that I have admired and respected for almost 35 years.”

Stowe became involved in dentistry through his father-in-law, John Fitzer, who sold dental supplies for Ransome & Randolph Dental Co. and later worked as a sales rep for Columbia Dental Lab. Stowe’s passion for dentistry led him to find fulfillment in providing dental care in mission settings overseas. While working overseas was a great experience for Stowe, he later realized a need locally as well.

“I reached out to a local food pantry ministry that was being conducted by my church. Plans began in 1982 for developing a dental clinic ministering to the homeless, indigent, and working poor in inner-city Columbus,” he said. “I stayed committed to the people of our area during the 1980s and 1990s and watched as the number of patients we were seeing began to steadily increase. Over time, more than 50 churches in the Metro Baptist Association became interested in getting involved, as well as, other dentists, hygienists and dental assistants. We were seeing patients in a 4-chair clinic,” Stowe said.

Stowe continued his mission and “in 2005, the Stowe Baptist Center Dental Clinic became a primary referral source for most area hospitals, emergency room doctors and social services. These referrals increased our patients exponentially,” he said. “With the help of a lot of dedicated volunteers and generous donors, we were able to purchase a new, bigger building at 888 South Parsons Avenue. We are now seeing patients in an 8-chair clinic with an updated clinical environment.”

The clinic attracts the homeless, indigent and the poorest of the poor. There are no geographic restrictions and people come from as far away as Lancaster, Marysville, Zanesville and Cincinnati and all points in between.

Dr. William Meyers, Chair of the Columbus Dental Society Honors and Awards Committee said “the success of the clinic would not be possible without volunteers. There is a core group of nine dentists, OSU senior dental students, radiologists and lay persons who work each week. The donation value per patient is about $400 which includes, x-rays, surgery, sutures, and take-home meds,” he said. “The yearly treatment total is approximately $260,000.” Since its opening – that’s a donation of over 3 million dollars.

Stowe does not plan to slow down any time soon. “I would like to continue being involved in dentistry as long as I can still be useful,” he said. “I enjoy private practice and enjoy mentoring my associate doctors. I want to still be involved with the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio Dental Clinic because I see so much need. The Dental Clinic fills a necessary role in allowing members of our profession the opportunity to give back,” he continued. “The Stowe Mission Clinic also gives me opportunities to work with students from The Ohio State University through The Ohio Project. I place a high priority in continuing my overseas medical mission trips especially in Africa where I’ve worked for the last 6 years, most recently Uganda and Kenya.”

In addition to his personal volunteer efforts, Stowe believes younger dentists should also participate in volunteerism as members of one of the most unique professions in the world.

“Our services are needed by people everywhere. There are so many people these days that are left out or have fallen through the cracks and are not receiving any dental care due to an ineffective healthcare system and economy,” Stowe said. “Volunteerism is the action professionally needed to again fulfill the law of Paying Forward. The ODA provides to us many benefits such as protection, advice, opportunity, fellowship and a political voice. Organized dentistry gives us power to make a difference.” For Stowe, it’s simply helping others that puts purpose and meaning to his life.

Pastor Michael Brooks, President and CEO of Stowe Mission of Central Ohio agrees. “This is an awesome ministry because the healing takes place immediately and you can see the joy on people’s faces as they leave,” he said.

With all his knowledge gained while working for the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio, Stowe cannot choose a most memorable experience or important lesson learned. “Dentistry for me has been not an end unto itself. Dentistry has been a means to an end to share the gospel and to see the world,” he said. “Dentistry and the needs of people are immense and you can literally see the planet, culture, and health needs of people around the world. My experiences have been too great to number. After 70 - plus trips abroad, the general needs of people are the same regardless of location.”

A 1977 graduate of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Stowe has been in private practice for over 30 years. He returned to OSU as a part-time clinical instructor from 1979-1986.

Stowe has been married to wife Michelle for 39 years and has three children, Abigail, Nathan, and Emma. The Stowe family welcomed their first grandchild, Claire a little over one year ago with another granddaughter due in September.

In his spare time, Stowe enjoys golf, deer and bird hunting, as well as following The Ohio State Buckeyes athletics and attending church at the Dublin Baptist Church. He has been an adult Bible study teacher for 25 years. “I have had a great ride so far,” he said. “God has blessed me in immeasurable ways, and I’m excited to see what he has in store for me next.”

Congratulations to Dr. Danny Stowe and the Stowe Mission of Central Ohio Dental Clinic!