Expanding Access Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation Awards Grants

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation awarded a total of more than $75,000 in “Expanding Access to Dental Care” grants to four organizations in Massachusetts. The goal of the grants is to improve the oral health of residents of the Commonwealth by supporting sustainable programs that improve access to dental care.
Hillcrest Dental Care Inc. in Pittsfield was awarded $20,000 to help the organization provide care to underserved Berkshire County children via a portable dental unit. The unit is expected to serve at least 400 children in its first year. The portable dental unit will be transported to sites including Head Start, other early-childhood programs, public and private schools, the Salvation Army, places of worship, and other community organizations. The unit also will visit Hillcrest Educational Center’s three residential programs and day school for youth with psychiatric, behavioral, and developmental disorders.
Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires (VIM) in Great Barrington was awarded $16,000 to fund additional dental-hygienist hours to support the all-volunteer dentists in its free dental clinic. VIM’s dental program is the fastest-growing of its services. Some patients have never seen a dentist or haven’t had care in years, and many require extensive treatment plans carried out over several months. VIM expects to treat an additional 200 patients in the upcoming year.
Outside Western Mass., the Forsyth Insitute in Cambridge was awarded $15,000 to help the organization provide oral healthcare to immigrant children at 60 sites, reaching those with difficulty accessing dental services. The ForsythKids portable dental program currently serves more than 2,400 infants, children, teens, and young adults in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Hull, Randolph, Walpole, and Cape Cod. In recent years, MDS Foundation grants have helped ForsythKids focus on unsupervised minor children who are newcomers to the U.S. in Lynn and Somerville. ForsythKids will expand these efforts to target all recent arrivals at its sites.
Finally, the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center (GRMDC) in Boston was awarded $25,000 to enable the center to expand dental access to patients of GRMDC and improve integration between its medical and dental departments. The MDS Foundation grant will allow the GRMDC to implement a quality-improvement project to address the disparity between the number of patients who receive primary medical care but not primary dental care at the center. The GRMDC will focus on children and expectant mothers as they present for mandatory physicals for all school children and prenatal medical appointments.
“Because of the generosity of MDS members and their desire to support an active foundation, we are able to help fund initiatives that improve the overall health of many Massachusetts residents who ordinarily might not receive care,” said Dr. Robert Lewando, chair of the MDS Foundation. “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.”

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