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Children’s Village Receives Gift in Honor of Dr. Mel Carlson

Press Releases
January 30, 2018

One of Yakima’s first pediatric dentists, still helping Yakima kids

Even though he has passed on, Dr. Melvin H. Carlson is still making a difference in Yakima.

Yakima’s Children’s Village received a $4,000 gift from the M.H. Carlson Community Memorial Endowment. This gift will provide clinical and preventive pediatric dental care at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Children’s Village. 

Dr. Carlson started his dental practice in Yakima in the 1950s. He touched the lives of many young children and their parents as one of the very first pediatric dentists in Yakima County.

“My father was a big advocate of children’s health and welfare, and their dental needs,” said Susan Carlson, Dr. Carlson’s daughter. “Dad was a person who believed in the service part of dentistry, working with people who didn’t always have the means to provide dental care for themselves or their kids.”

Dr. Carlson practiced dentistry in Yakima for several decades. He continued to volunteer well after retirement at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic site in Toppenish.

“He didn’t make a big deal about his service or advocacy work, he just did it,” Carlson added.

According to daughter Cori Reeves, Dr. Carlson lived to help the community’s children.

“He told me that serving your community is something that you should do as a citizen.  Do it cheerfully and with a grateful heart, so you might as well enjoy it.” she said.

When choosing where to make the gift, Dr. Carlson’s daughters wanted to extend their father’s legacy.

“We wanted the money to go where our father spent many hours helping children. It was where his heart was,” Reeves said. 

This gift will help continue the work at Children’s Village, offering outstanding pediatric dental care to children. With a colorful and fun state-of-the-art medical and dental facility at its heart, Children’s Village is designed to help children with chronic health conditions, and their families, get all their needs met in a one-stop location.

 “There's been tremendous progress in Yakima County over the past years in improving access and widening the scope of dental services for the children in our valley. This all started with pioneers like Dr. Carlson. I have to think he's up there smiling now seeing the results of all that he started,” said Dr. Mark Koday, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Chief Dental Officer.


About Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic: The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides comprehensive medical, dental, and social services for more than 131,000 people throughout the Pacific Northwest. Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic employs 1,390 full-time staff and more than 600 part-time staff, medical residents, dental residents, students and volunteers. Facilities: 18 medical clinics, 10 dental clinics, 49 programs. Locations: Washington State clinics are located in Grandview, Prosser, Pasco, Spokane, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Yakima, Walla Walla and Wapato. In Oregon, clinics are located in Hermiston, Portland, Salem and Woodburn. Visit: