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Dental clinic gets grant to support new childrens program

Community Dental Care in Rochester

Rochester's newly expanded "safety net" dental clinic has received a $25,000 grant to help support a child-based program that's been a marked success in other parts of the country.

A grant from the Medica Foundation was announced Tuesday by Community Dental Care, a nonprofit clinic that recently expanded operations at the new Eastwood location. The new grant is expected to help support the clinic's Program to Improve Community Oral Health.

The PICOH program was not available in Rochester prior to this fall, but it served 14,013 kids, 1,399 parents and 304 pregnant women throughout the Twin Cities area last year. The program strives to provide oral health education, risk assessment and preventative services for diverse, low-income children and pregnant women through in-clinic outreach, school-based sealant and the Minnesota Cavity Free Kids pilot program.

It's been so successful that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and ICF International selected the PICOH program as one of 12 promising models across the country that increases oral health access for children. This spring, PICOH and CDC received the 2017 Henry Schein Cares Gold Medal Award for demonstrating excellence in expanding access to oral care for the underserved.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Medica Foundation for their generosity in supporting early dental disease prevention for infants, toddlers, and pregnant mothers," said Dr. Vacharee Peterson, CEO of CDC. "It is our deepest desire for every child born to be cavity free. With the help of the parents, the providers and the community, we can achieve this goal together."

The CDC had been operating a small dental clinic on Rochester Community and Technical College's campus prior to opening its new complex off U.S. Highway 14 this fall. It served more than 1,200 patients in its first two months — 42 percent of whom were new — while filling an important niche in Southeast Minnesota.

About 95 percent of all patients treated by the CDC are uninsured or on public programs. The wait time for care has been reduced from seven months to three months since the new site opened.

The expansion project received about $1.8 million in donations during the fundraising period, including $1 million from Delta Dental. Officials view the latest grant as an important step to highlight ongoing challenges in childrens' oral health.

Haley Pysick, a PICOH educator, had already treated 130 patients by mid-October.

"We understand that oral health is an important part of overall health," said JoAnn Birkholz, director of the Medica Foundation. "The Medica Foundation is delighted to provide funding to this important initiative that improves access to quality dental care."

Boese, B. (2017, December 27). Dental clinic gets grant to support new children's program. Post Bulletin. Retrieved from http://www.postbulletin.com.