SOUTHBOROUGH — The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation awarded a total of nearly $100,000 in “Expanding Access to Dental Care” grants to six organizations in Massachusetts, two of them based in Western Mass. 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.
Among the local grant recipients, the Community Health Center of Franklin County has been awarded $15,000 to help expand an existing oral-health urgent-care access site located within Baystate Franklin Medical Center, 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 the site’s overall safety and operations.
In addition, Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires in Great Barrington has been awarded $26,500 to help it continue providing dental services to uninsured or underinsured, income-qualified residents in the Berkshires. It will also allow VIM to make a concerted effort to attract dentists and dental hygienists into the Berkshires area to help address capacity building in the area, which is severely lacking in 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.”