Special Projects Fund

Project Title

New York Oral Health Pediatric Primary Care Provider Training

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

November 13, 2013


Capital Region






Although preventable, cavities are the most common chronic infectious disease of childhood—roughly six times more prevalent than asthma.

A recent New York State Department of Health survey of preschoolers enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs found that 41% had early childhood caries (cavities), and of those, 70% had untreated active dental decay. The burden of dental caries falls disproportionately on underprivileged, minority, or special needs children; nationally, 25–35% of children in low-income families have never seen a dentist by the age of five. Consequently, dental decay is often treated in emergency departments and ambulatory surgery settings. In 2013, NYHealth initially awarded the Albany Medical Center Pediatric Group (Albany Medical Center) a grant to expand the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Smiles program—a pediatric oral health program that provides preventive services to high-risk preschool-age children in areas where access to dental services is limited—throughout New York State. As a result of an unexpected national policy change that occurred in May 2014, Albany Medical Center shifted the focus of the grant in 2015 to train pediatric primary care providers to adopt the new policy’s recommendations.

Under this grant, the Albany Medical Center provided professional training to pediatric primary care providers across upstate New York in adopting the recommendations of the May 2014 policy. Specifically, Albany Medical Center targeted practices that serve the highest-risk children (although not exclusively); served as expert and mentor for local health department staff training; provided pediatric primary care sites with an implementation toolkit; aligned activities with similar work done by various stakeholders; and outreached to major insurers regarding the impact of the new policy on claims processing.