Dr. John Mink has taught every single UK College of Dentistry student that has graduated in the history of the college — all 3,227 of them! That is an accomplishment not many educators can claim. This month, Dr. Mink will retire from the UK College of Dentistry. It will be bittersweet for all of the students, alumni and faculty and staff that he has impacted over his 50 years of service.
Perhaps one of Mink’s most notable achievements during his tenure at the UK College of Dentistry is the establishment of the mobile dental program. In the 1990s, he would drive a 40-foot van, fondly nicknamed by his colleagues “the Mink mobile.” The dental clinic on wheels traveled to remote locations in Eastern Kentucky, providing oral health care to disadvantaged children. The program has since expanded to treat children in Western Kentucky as well. Today, the Mobile Dental Van program provides dental screening, treatment and prevention services to about 11,000 Kentucky children a year.
Mink smiles and laughs as he reminisces about his experiences and the people he has met, particularly the children he has treated, over the past half-century at the College of Dentistry. Patients who have heard about his retirement have made special trips in to the clinic just to give him a hug and to say goodbye.
“I’m going to miss it,” he said. “Sometimes it is them that have tears in their eyes and sometimes it is me but if I were starting over today, I’d do the same thing.”
Mink was scheduled to retire in June but he decided to put off retirement one month to make one last trip to Eastern Kentucky with the mobile dental van.
“I started the mobile dental program and I want that to be the last thing I do for the college.”
To read more about Dr. Mink’s long and fruitful tenure at the UK College of Dentistry, click here.
*Compiled from material written by Ann Blackford, UK Public Relations and Marketing.