The Rota-Dent project was started by Ken Austin in the 1966-1967 Rotary year. While he was visiting a dental dealer in Portland, someone recognized Ken’s Rotary pin. This person had some old dental equipment that he wanted to donate and thought a service club like Rotary would be able to make good use of it. Ken thought it would be a good idea to repair the old equipment and send it to a country like South Africa where it could be used. However, while discussing this idea with other Rotarians he quickly realized that once in a foreign country, dentists would not be able to get parts for ongoing repair of the old equipment. Fortunately, Ken had products he could not sell such as samples and returns. Since these pieces were newer they could be donated and used for years to come. Once the company ran out of these items a new portable unit was designed. Known as the Rota-Cart, these units were air-operated, had a self contained water supply, and could receive waste.
They were sent throughout the world and helped make the Newberg Rotary Club unique. The program has been featured in The Rotarian and clubs and communities all over the world still use the dental units. The program has expanded to also include a portable chair, known as the Tota-Chair, that was also designed by Ken.