Sarrell Dental Center’s roots trace back to the year 2000, when The Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama funded a county-wide health assessment to examine issues of access to healthcare and the health status of the population. That assessment identified a significant lack of access to dental care for the county’s low income population, particularly for children. In early 2004 the Foundation’s Trustees committed to fund a dental facility and appointed Dr. Warren Sarrell (1924-2012), a trustee, to chair the Task Force on behalf of the board. The Foundation provided a $300,000 start-up grant from the Stringfellow Health Fund, other corporate and not-for-profit organizations provided $50,000, and Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center donated space for the facility in the Medical Arts Building. Originally named the Calhoun County Dental Center, it was later renamed to the Sarrell Regional Dental Center for Public Health in honor of Dr. Sarrell.
Initially, the dental center lacked both dentists and patients, and it struggled to stay open even two days a week. In early 2005, Dr. Sarrell sought the advice of Jeffrey Parker, a retired businessman and former CEO of many multi-national companies. After Dr. Sarrell shared the struggles of the clinic and his vision for the serving the children of Alabama, Mr. Parker agreed to join the organization and serve as CEO. Since then, under Parker’s leadership, the organization has seen 34 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, and one clinic has expanded to sixteen, four of which now also offer optical services. In addition to sixteen brick-and-mortar locations, Sarrell also operates a mobile dental bus that serves some of the most rural populations in Alabama.
After eleven years of steady growth, the Sarrell Dental staff now includes over 250 employees and has provided services for nearly 845,000 children. With a team made up of dentists and hygienists dedicated to helping children, Sarrell Dental takes pride in their commitment to the needs of the patient. The Sarrell Dental looks forward to more growth as they continue in their effort to provide for the dental needs of the underserved children of Alabama.
As of September 2013 Sarrell Dental has affiliated with Massachusetts-based DentaQuest. The affiliation aims to provide better oral care to more Americans. DentaQuest works to improve better oral health for low-income families, including those living in Alabama.