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California Dental Association Foundation Expands Care to State's Underserved Communities
Date:2/19/2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its efforts to improve oral health care for the state's most vulnerable residents, the California Dental Association Foundation today announced the latest organizations selected for support through its popular grant program. This year, the philanthropic effort is supported in part by Olympic Dental & Medical Devices.

In all, 74 community organizations applied for CDA Foundation grants in 2009, and 20 projects were ultimately evaluated for awards by the CDA Foundation's Grant Selection Committee and Board of Directors. From that group of applicants, five organizations were awarded grants.

"It's always difficult to make choices when there are so many worthy organizations doing good work on behalf of dental patients in need," said CDA Foundation Chair Dr. Lindsey Robinson. "But the projects we selected stood out and will unquestionably meet our goal of making a significant contribution to California's underserved populations."

Here is a glance at the organizations that will benefit from CDA Foundation support in 2010:

St. Mary's Interfaith Community Services

Staffed by 20 volunteer dentists, this clinic provides free dental services to uninsured homeless people and the working poor in Stockton. CDA Foundation grant funds will enable the clinic to buy a DEXIS Digital X-ray System, allowing for instantaneous images that will help clinic staff with diagnosis and preparation of more effective treatment plans. The equipment will free-up staff time, increase productivity, decrease client wait time, and reduce patients' exposure to radiation.

UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project

This busy clinic desperately needed a part-time assistant to coordinate scheduling among three clinics; initiate oral health education in schools; manage referrals and patient flow; maintain partnerships with two community organizations; and recruit dentists and pre-dental students as clinic volunteers. The CDA Foundation grant funds will support the salary for this staff position, which is considered integral to the project's ability to continue providing high-quality, comprehensive care at no cost to the area's underserved populations.

Ravenswood Family Health Center

This spring Ravenswood Family Health Center plans to open a 10-operatory dental clinic in the heart of East Palo Alto. To get the clinic up and running, CDA Foundation grant funds will be used to help pay its full-time dentist's salary. While the focus is on pediatric patients, the clinic will provide a wide range of services for 1,800 children and adults, including preventive, restorative, surgical, emergency, and periodontal oral health care. The clinic also will offer one "Community Dental Day" per week that will be staffed by volunteer dentists and student teams from the University of  Pacific's Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. In a first for California, the clinic will use electronic dental records to track patients and carry out evidence-based oral health practices in the community.

Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People

In the Santa Ynez Valley, the CDA Foundation grant will support the Children's Dental Fund Project. Specifically, half of the funds will help pay salaries for three key staff members, while the other half will cover direct dental services. Through partnerships with local schools and community outreach, this project will identify 180 children between kindergarten and third grade who lack insurance and need dental care. As part of the Dental Fund Project, patients are provided with transportation; payment plan set-up and billing; exams; cleanings; fluoride; fillings; extractions; oral surgery; and Spanish translation if needed. The project partners with seven local dentists who agree to provide care at 50% of the insured rate.

Alameda County Dental Society Dental Health Foundation

Led by the Alameda County Dental Society Dental Health Foundation, several organizations are partnering to support the treatment of complex cases that require child sedation. The grant funds will pay for sedation services for underserved children with severe dental disease who have no other means to obtain this care. County case managers will assess patient eligibility, coordinate treatment plans, and track patient demographics, services, and treatment completion forms. Timely treatment will reduce school absenteeism, alleviate pain, and contribute to the children's overall health and well-being.

California Dental Association Foundation

The CDA Foundation was formed as the philanthropic affiliate of the California Dental Association in 2001 with the mission to improve the oral health of Californians by supporting the dental health profession and its efforts to increase access to care for the state's most vulnerable people. The CDA Foundation works with experts in the dental profession, private business, academic institutions and government to produce programs that increase access to care, promote prevention education and intervention, advance health policy research and build a sustainable oral health workforce. www.cdafoundation.org.

SOURCE California Dental Association Foundation

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