SOUTHBOROUGH — 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 and the Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center in Boston were awarded $15,000 and $25,000, respectively.
“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, MDS Foundation chair. “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.”