The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation has awarded nearly $100,000 in Expanding Access to Dental Care grants to six organizations. The grants aim to improve the oral health of residents of Massachusetts by supporting sustainable programs that improve access to dental care.
The Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) has received $15,000 to help newly immigrated youth at Somerville High School access dental care. The funds will be used to address the current wait list for treatment. Expanding CHA’s program to include local dentists and dental professionals will help increase the number of specialized treatments and decrease wait times.
The Community Health Center of Franklin County has received $15,000 to help expand an existing oral health urgent care access site located within Baystate Franklin Medical Center and adjacent to the emergency department. The facility opened in 2016 in response to the rising use of hospital emergency departments for ambulatory care dental conditions. The funding will help the access site increase the number of patients seen annually and improve its overall safety and operations.
The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) received $12,500 to help the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services (DDS) program expand statewide. The grant, along with matched funds from other supporters, will provide funding for one fiscal year. The funds will be used to employ a coordinator who will help provide 65 patients with $180,000 in donated treatment through a network of volunteer dentists and dental labs in Massachusetts.
The Elder Dental Program, which is part of HealthCare Options of Attleboro, received $15,000 to serve the dental needs of low-income, uninsured seniors in Bristol County and southern Norfolk County. The grant will allow the program to expand services to elders by adding one additional free dental screening clinic.
The Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, on behalf of the ForsythKids Program, received $15,000 to incorporate the Waltham Public School System into its care network. The ForsythKids portable dental program provides preventive oral healthcare and education to underserved kids throughout the state. This expansion adds 10 new project sites and about 300 new patients.
Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires in Great Barrington received $26,500 to continue providing dental services to uninsured or underinsured, income-qualified residents in the Berkshires. It also will allow VIM to attract dentists and dental hygienists into the Berkshires area to address capacity building in the area, which severely lacks dentists and related dental care.
“Because of the generosity of MDS Foundation donors, we are able to help fund initiatives that improve the overall health of many Massachusetts residents who ordinarily might not receive care,” said MDS Foundation chair Dr. Robert Lewando. “It is our hope that the Foundation will continue to grow so we can help sponsor additional services that will most benefit communities in need.”