News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at

James Delaney, DDS, retires from Dental Clinics North
Pediatric dentist helped launch the system of public health dental clinics for low-income, uninsured

James Delaney, DDS, practiced dentistry for nearly 45 years with the philosophy "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". After retiring in 1995 from one of the busiest pediatric dental offices in the Midwest, Delaney took a couple of years off until he started looking for a place to help needy children. On a family vacation, he stopped at an open house in Gaylord and met Gerald Chase and Linda Yaroch from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

It was not long before he was working part-time to assist in the development of Dental Clinics North--a system of public health dental clinics for people with low incomes, uninsured, or enrolled in Medicaid.

For the last 13 years, Delaney directed Dental Clinics North's Hospital Program, treating children, mostly youngsters under age four, whose severe dental problems required treatment in a hospital setting. He launched the "Healthy Smiles" program to educate, screen and identify early childhood tooth decay in pregnant women, infants, and children through health departments' maternal and child health services.

"Dr. Delaney has made significant contributions to the health of children in northern Michigan as both a pediatric dentist and leader within Dental Clinics North," said Gerald Chase, Health Officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

Delaney began his career as a pediatric dentist with specialty training in 1966, followed by a one-year fellowship at the Mott Foundation. The following year he joined the staff at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and treated hospital patients in an outdated clinic until 1971. That's when he was appointed Children's Hospital's Dental Director and assisted in the design of the new hospital in the Detroit Medical Center.

There he started an in-house group of pediatric and related dental specialists to care for children with special needs, such as cleft palate or multiple medical issues. In 1977 he helped develop a two-year specialty training program and was appointed Chief of the Dental Department. Over the next 10 years, more than 20 dentists completed the program and the majority stayed in Michigan to practice. He says he's proud they all finished the Michigan state boards and those that took the American boards passed those too.

In the early 1990's Delaney started rotations for dental students from the University of Detroit and University of Michigan. In 1994 he received grant funds from Delta Dental to start a school-based dental clinic in Detroit for high needs children; dental hygiene students did rotations to learn pediatric dental. After five years, all of the students had received dental care, including sealants to protect their teeth from cavities.

"It's been a pleasure to work with Dr. Delaney," said Linda Yaroch, Deputy Health Officer who developed 10 public health dental clinics for people with low incomes or with no dental insurance. "He treated his clients in such a kind and gentle manner. He has a sly sense of humor that helps him connect with children and their parents and colleagues. He was an important mentor for many of us."

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Dental Clinics North locations include Mancelona, East Jordan, Cheboygan, Petoskey/Harbor Springs, and Gaylord. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 877-321-7070 during regular business hours.

Photo Caption: Gerry Chase and Linda Yaroch from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan congratulate James Delaney, DDS, at a reception held in his honor for his retirement from Dental Clinics North.