Dr. Jessica Blakely and Dr. Camille Megna-Acorlor are doing their part to give back to their community - by helping and healing.
As general dentists, they co-own New Era Dental, a new private practice that opened its doors on Main Street in Buffalo this past March.
Unfortunately, within 3 months of opening, an upstairs apartment fire forced the practice closed. But, despite the set back, they pushed forward, with the needs of the community in mind.
With their patients behind them, the partners searched until they found a temporary new location in Depew, where doors continue to swing open with business.
“I just like to make people smile, that’s what I love to do,” Dr. Blakely said.
But for her, this now reality, wasn't always a dream she thought possible.
“Growing up in Buffalo, I never knew any African-American doctors. It wasn’t until I went to Howard University in DC that I met and was surrounded by professionals that looked just like me - that was very motivating,” Blakely continued.
Another motivation - being the example for other young girls she never had.
“I wanted to give other little girls here in Buffalo that opportunity to see what dentists look like, challenge what they may initially think.”
For Dr. Megna-Acorlor, also a Howard University graduate, the lack of access to care for minority communities in particular, is what really motivated her to get on board.
"We really wanted to give our community that access, that's why we're here, that's why we're doing this," Megna-Acorlor said.
The US Department of Health and Human Services reports many Americans skip out on dental visits for two reasons: accessibility and affordability.
For these women, that's the spirit that keeps New Era Dental going - remembering who its for and why.
Plans to re-open their practice on Main Street, at their old, but newly renovated location, is scheduled before the new year.