Columbia dental school receives grant to expand oral health services for underserved children

The School of Dental and Oral Surgery at Columbia University (SDOS) has been awarded $220,000 through a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation programCaring for Kids: Expanding Dental and Mental Health Services Through School-Based Health Centersto expand oral health care services for children in Harlem, a neighborhood of northern Manhattan that has been designated a dental and medical health professional shortage area. SDOS will use its grant to develop and sustain a comprehensive dental program at the Family Academy, a Harlem-based New York City public school, during its first three crucial years of operation.

The burden of untreated dental health problems for children is considerable, and recent reports from the U.S. Surgeon General have only substantiated this notion: An estimated 5 percent of children under 18 have untreated dental problems, with that percentage rising to 39 percent for African American children and 60 percent for Mexican-American children. An estimated 51 million hours of school are lost because of dental problems.

To help rectify this situation locally, SDOSs Community DentCare Network will work closely with the Community Health and Education Program of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospitals Ambulatory Care Network to implement the program, establishing a permanent two-chair dental suite, staffed by professional dentists and dental hygienists, within the academys health care center. The programs directors will focus on expanding services using both established models and new approaches and will forge partnerships with community-based providers, area parents, and local school administrators to maximize the programs potential for success. SDOS projects that the Family Academys school-based clinic will be fully self-sustaining and supporting following the programs pilot phase.

We are extremely pleased to have been selected to pa

Contact: Leslie Boen
Columbia University Medical Center

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