A Black-owned healthcare company dedicated to making medical care more accessible to Black men hit a new milestone with its newly opened dental office.

After advocating for his health in his late 20s, Aaron Perry noticed there was a huge disconnection between men who looked like him and the healthcare industry, so he set out to be an advocate for men wanting better health and wellness resources, according to Madison 365. The president and founder of Rebalance Life Wellness Association created the Perry Family Free Clinic to help bridge the financial gap between underserved men and the healthcare industry, specifically Black men. Two successful PFFC facilities in the city of Madison serve men residing in Madison and Dane counties and have already provided over 7,000 Black men with preventative and healthcare screenings since their inception six years ago.

“We believe that healthcare is a right and everyone should have access to it, and so we’re really excited that this free clinic is going to reach those men that often have kind of (fallen) off the radar,” Perry said in an interview with Channel 3000 earlier last year. “We will be pulling them in and helping them get the healthcare that they need.”

To continue encouraging men in his community to make better lifestyle choices, the philanthropist opened Perry Family Free Dental Clinic, a new branch that supports healthy oral hygiene by offering free dental services for those who qualify, on Dec. 7. The opening signifies a new beginning for a lot of men who are unable to afford dental care due to not having insurance or being underinsured.

Perry’s partnership with the staff of the Wisconsin Partnership Program, a grantmaking program within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, assisted Perry in making this dream a reality. With help from Amy Kind (executive director), Kattia Jiminez (program officer), and Megan Miller (administrative director ), enough funds were acquired through grants so the new office could open this year.

“We received a $300,000 community collaboration grant that got us started, and then we were awarded the community impact grant. That really put us over the top, and once we received that, we said that this community will not look the same in five years,” he told Madison 365. “I think we’re on pace for that. It gives me great pleasure that now we have medical, behavioral health, and we rounded out with dental care.”

Some of the exam tables, cabinets, and other medical equipment clients will see when they visit are due to SSM Health‘s, “a Catholic, not-for-profit health system,” generous donation from a building the organization would no longer be utilizing.

“When they were closing their old clinic and they decided they were going to build a new one, we knew right away that a lot of the medical beds and cabinetry were going to end up in a landfill somewhere. I reached out to them and said we’re going to create an SSM Health medical facility, only we’re going to call it the Perry Family Free Clinic, and it’ll be free and we’ll take all of those old things out of your clinic,” Perry explained. “They blessed us with that and told us to come and get everything you need. If you go into our free clinic, next to the barbershop, we put all of that stuff that would have been thrown away to good use.”

The Perry Family Free Dental Clinic already had a few appointments booked this past weekend, which excited Perry and his partners. AmeriCorps’ worker Erica Olsen, a dental hygienist who has previously worked with Perry, will be someone patients will become familiar with during this new venture.

“It’s virtually impossible to have controlled diabetes if you have uncontrolled periodontal disease,” Olsen shared with Madison 365. “It’s chronic inflammation in the mouth, so anytime you are fighting any sort of chronic inflammation, it increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, and all the things. That’s really our goal in practice is to educate our patients to have a healthy mouth so they can have an overall healthier life.”

Moving forward, Perry has plans to have programming that offers educational resources through FoodWise, a renowned non-profit that has launched exceptional farmer’s markets and essential culinary curriculums. The classes aim to enlighten communities about nutritious foods to help improve diets. Furthermore, to keep the momentum all year long he is working to secure more gyms owned by the Boys and Girls Club for indoor festivities.

With all of these collaborations in the works, there is no doubt in the Wisconsin native’s mind that he will continue to make a significant impact on the Madison community.