Utah desert

Montezuma Creek Dental Clinic is a Community Health Center located in Montezuma Creek, a wide spot in the road in the four corners area of Utah, on the Navajo Indian Reservation. The clinic is a recently remodeled, six-chair clinic and residents work with a full range of dental auxiliary staff. Working with J.D. Vreeken, DDS, for one month, residents see a minimum of eight patients per day, ten hours a day, four days a week (Monday through Thursday) leaving Friday, Saturday and Sunday to tour the Indian ruins, visit the natural wonders of Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, as well as hike or bike in Moab and the surrounding areas. River rafting on the Green River in Moab or on the San Juan River in Bluff is fun and relaxing, or exciting, depending on the time of year. We provide rent-free housing for residents in Blanding, approximately 25 minutes by car from the Clinic. The house has three bedrooms and is fully furnished. The town of Blanding does not have a traffic light but does have two grocery stores, a community pool and a video store. Residents tell us they enjoy their time working in the Montezuma Creek Dental Clinic.

Message from J.D. Vreeken, DDS
Chief of Teaching Services
Utah Navajo Health Systems

"Montezuma Creek Health Clinic provides services to approximately 7,000 people. We have six operatories, two dentists, a hygienist and six dental assistants. Our patients are as unique as our clinic; some living with out running water, phones, or even electricity. The average annual family income is roughly $7,000, and amazingly we still have a large number of patients who speak little to no English."

Dr. Vreeken in the desert

"Recently we began to visit one of the most remote populations in the United States in Navajo Mountain. Located in Utah, Navajo Mountain is reached from my home in Cortez, Colorado, by passing through all four states in the four corners region (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado). In September we began to fly out to the clinic which is a unique experience in itself. We flew over Monument Valley and Lake Powell, which is an incredible sight from the air. The Navajo Mountain airport consists of someone's drive way. In fact, before landing we had to make sure there weren't any cars on the dirt run way."

"This area provides many unique experiences with the culture and the environment. The Navajo culture maintains many beliefs and rituals that have existed for hundreds of years. This area is also an incredible area for geology, archeology, and biology. There are many outdoor activities in the area ranging from hiking to rafting."

"Our goals related to the GPR program involve giving dental residents a chance to make a real difference in the quality of life in an underserved population while being able to learn and experience a new culture. The role of our attending dentists is to provide safe, high quality, comprehensive primary and preventative health care by working as a team with other onsite providers. These providers include physicians, a pharmacist, and other dentists."