UB receives $550,000 grant to provide dental care for homeless and uninsured people at WNY – UBNow: News and Views for UB Faculty and Staff

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The School of Dentistry received a $550,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to provide dental care to homeless people, as well as underinsured families in Western New York, populations that are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will provide nearly 100 days of free dental care, including at the Buffalo City Mission, to homeless people. It will also support the delivery of nearly 3,000 dental visits to uninsured and underinsured children at more than 30 primary and elementary schools across the region. The grant will also fund the provision of oral health counseling and treatment to hundreds of families receiving medical care at Jamestown Pediatric Associates.

Care will be provided through the S-Miles To Go program using the School of Dentistry‘s two state-of-the-art mobile dental clinics, each equipped with an x-ray unit, sterilization center and more.

The mobile clinics, staffed by UB dental faculty, staff and students, will also provide students with experiential learning opportunities in caring for vulnerable populations in the region and may encourage them to work in underserved environments.

“The lack of access to dental care has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in Western New York. This is especially true among school-aged children and the homeless,” says Stephen N. Abel, Senior Director of Community and Professional Initiatives at the dental school. “Partnering with staff at Jamestown Pediatrics and Buffalo City Mission will greatly help the School of Dentistry’s outreach program identify and reach those who most need our services to prevent dental disease.”

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation provides funds to improve access to affordable, quality health care and to address unmet health care needs in New York communities.

“As we look at the crises that have worsened in recent years, the health needs of vulnerable communities have only increased. Our grantees have shown extraordinary resilience, creativity and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such a detrimental impact,” said said Alfred F. Kelly Jr., Chairman and CEO of Visa and Chairman of the Board of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

Removing barriers to dental care is a pressing issue in rural Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, where many residents are impacted by poverty and a limited pool of providers, says Paula Fischer, director of school-based dental programs at the School of Dentistry. .

The new initiative would help break down barriers to care, such as lack of insurance or transportation, by offering dental services – including cleanings, fluoride varnish applications, surgeries, oral hygiene instructions – dental and nutritional advice – to children from a mobile UB dental clinic stationed outside local schools.

Throughout the summer and during school vacations, the dental school will partner with Jamestown Pediatric Associates, one of Chautauqua County’s largest pediatric medical providers serving nearly 10,000 children, to offer a interprofessional training to its primary care staff on providing basic oral health assessments. and treatment, as well as providing oral health counseling to families in waiting areas. A UB mobile dental clinic will also be stationed outside of Jamestown Pediatric Associates to provide dental services.

“Most children are exposed to medical care at an early age, but not to dental care,” says Fischer, also a project coordinator for UB’s rural dentistry program. “Primary medical care providers have the opportunity to play an important role in helping children and their families access dental care.”

The School of Dentistry has also forged a partnership with the Buffalo City Mission, which works to reduce homelessness in the local community, to provide on-site dental care to complement the mission’s medical, behavioral and social services. . A UB mobile dental clinic will provide dental care one day a week at a location in Buffalo City Mission.

The partnerships, says Fischer, aim to break down the siled environment in which dental care has traditionally been practiced.

“Engaging with primary care medical workers and social workers within these partner organizations will greatly help us manage and prevent dental disease,” says Fischer.

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