The Program of the North Carolina Caring Dental Professionals is available to the resident licensed Dentists and licensed Hygienists of North Carolina, as well as the faculty and students at dental educational institutions in the state of North Carolina. However, if any member of a Dental Team needed assistance, the Program would help the impaired team member or provide resources for family members.
Prior to 1996 the Program operated on a primarily volunteer basis with a cadre of Volunteers around the State working under the direction of a Dentist Director. With the Board’s decision to contract paid staff (part-time) in the latter half of 1996, the Program was moved forward with established policies and procedures, revised Participant contracts, on-going communication with Volunteers and intense outreach efforts around the State. The Program staff visit District and County Dental Society Meetings and maintain a booth at Dental Conferences in the state.
The Program has a Volunteer speakers’ bureau that is available to provide education and speaking at appropriate functions around the State. The Executive Director writes articles that are pertinent to Dental Professionals’ well-being, as well as chemical dependency/abuse/psychiatric diagnosed illnesses, to be published in the newsletters of the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, the North Carolina Dental Society and the North Carolina Dental Hygiene Association. The Program has its own Newsletter, Caring Connections, which is published three times yearly with a full mailing to all licensed Dentists and Hygienists in North Carolina.
The Program’s Volunteers, called Peer Support Volunteers, offer one-on-one support, monitoring and guidance through the process of intervention, treatment, advocacy, professional reintegration to practice and recovery. While many of the Peer Support Volunteers are recovering themselves, some have both academic background and personal experience with chemical dependency and/or abuse in their families. Formal training is provided to the Peer Support Volunteers and other Volunteers on pertinent clinical topics related to impairment, intervention, monitoring, relapse and other recovery issues.
The Program does not pay for or underwrite treatment, but does pay for training expense, travel and lodging for the Peer Support Volunteers. Administrative costs such as salary, telephone, fax and office expenses are covered by NCCDP as “operational expenses.” The NCCDP currently is engaged in non-profit fundraising to assist impaired Dental Professionals in need, with the monies raised being allocated to one of two Funds. Monies intended for no interest treatment loans go to an endowment managed by the NC Community Foundation in Raleigh, NC. Emergency and Educational monies are earmarked by donors for the Dr. Jake Thorpe NCCDP Support Fund.
The North Carolina Caring Dental Professionals Program is accountable for all funds and is subject to audit and reporting as any State Agency.