The doctor is in
Dr. Dana Fujita is scheduled to work in the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at its Craig location at 485 Yampa Ave. Once a month - perhaps twice in the future - she will travel to the Steamboat Springs satellite location at Gary Fresques' office, 940 Central Park Drive, to see patients.
Craig and Steamboat residents should call 824-8000 to make appointments.
Craig Several words come to Janet Pearcey, director of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, when describing Dr. Dana Fujita.
And starting Tuesday, Pearcey can call Fujita something else.
The Dental Coalition's new full-time dentist.
"This is a blessing for us. : We're ecstatic," Pearcey said. "We really think she is going to be here for a while. We found the perfect candidate."
Fujita will be the Dental Coalition's first full-time dentist since Gregory Reinhold resigned in July.
Since Reinhold's resignation, Fujita has been using some of her days off from working at Rabbit Ears Dental in Steamboat Springs to help out at the Dental Coalition, "just to help keep the clinic afloat until they could find someone permanent," she said.
Her part-time work at the coalition led her to seek the full-time position.
"I liked working with the staff and seeing the patients," she said. "You get to see more kids here than I did at Rabbit Ears, and I enjoy seeing the kids. I just see such a huge need for dental care in the entire valley, so the clinic is pretty important."
The Dental Coalition serves patients of all ages who are on Medicaid or Children's Health Plan Plus or who are low-income in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties.
"The type of work that we do is very special to her," Pearcey said. "And she is absolutely incredible with the kids that we serve, as well as the adults. Everybody just absolutely loves her."
Fujita's arrival comes months before a full-time dentist was expected to be hired, Pearcey said. Most applications are fourth-year dental school students, who typically don't graduate until spring.
"So, we were thinking it would be around July before we could get someone," she said.
Fujita, a University of Missouri in Kansas City graduate, has lived in Northwest Colorado for five years, working at Bear River Dental in Hayden for 2 1/2 years and then at Rabbit Ears Dental in Steamboat Springs.
And starting Tuesday, she's at the Dental Coalition, a place she plans to be for the foreseeable future.
"That is one of the things that weighed in my decision when I was deciding to take the position or not," she said. "I didn't want to take it if I didn't think that I could be here for a while - just because there hasn't been very much stability and there have been several dentists who have come in and out.
"I would like to stay for a while and really get the clinic established."