A Model Partnership: Meeting Pediatric Dental Needs in Dutchess County
Special Projects Fund
July 23, 2013
WebsiteSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
The New York State Department of Health has documented severe disparities in children’s oral health status and access to oral health services in Poughkeepsie, a city located in Dutchess County. Widespread poverty, unemployment, environmental challenges, a shortage of Medicaid-accepting dentists, and socioeconomic disparities are factors that have exacerbated the lack of access to dental care for the residents of Poughkeepsie. With previous funding from NYHealth, the New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) successfully implemented a financially sustainable oral health intervention program for children in the city of Hudson, located 40 miles north of Poughkeepsie. In 2013, NYHealth awarded a second grant to NYUCD to replicate this school-based dental health center intervention program in Poughkeepsie.
Under this grant, NYUCD operated school-based dental health centers at two Poughkeepsie schools: the Early Learning Center (grades pre-kindergarten and kindergarten) and the Clinton School (grades 1–5). In keeping with the Hudson model, NYUCD brought a team of pediatric dental providers and portable equipment to the two designated schools in Poughkeepsie. The team operated for one week at a time, twice per year, in anticipation of providing care to 1,000 children. Efforts were made to focus on children without a dental home. The clinics operated on a financially sustainable model whereby income generated by Medicaid billing covered operational expenses and allowed NYUCD to provide uncompensated care to children lacking any insurance coverage. In addition, NYUCD partnered with Astor Services for Children & Families to provide care to children enrolled in the Early Head Start and Head Start programs.