Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Columbia County Oral Health Intervention Program

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

April 17, 2009


Hudson Valley







In mid-2009, a significant proportion of Columbia County’s children in the Capital Region were at high risk for oral disease due to a number of factors, including poverty; lack of water fluoridation; cultural and environmental issues; diet; and limited oral hygiene education.

Access to dental care providers also played an important role in increasing risk; no private dentists within the county accepted Medicaid, despite 750 children relying on it for their medical care. In the city of Hudson alone, there were no pediatric dentists, and the planned discontinuation of Columbia County Memorial Hospital’s dental services program further lessened access to care. As a major provider of dental services to New York State’s Medicaid population, New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) decided to intervene and initiated the Columbia County Oral Health Intervention Program. The program intended to reduce dental caries in approximately 1,500 children from kindergarten through sixth grade by 95% over a three-year period. In April 2009, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded NYUCD a one-year grant, which was eventually extended to two years, to cover the start-up costs of the program. NYUCD supplied the requisite dental supplies, equipment, clinical resources, and administration, while its faculty, postgraduate pediatric dentistry residents, and graduating dental and dental hygiene students served patients.

A significant number of upstate New York’s Columbia County student population (kindergarten through sixth grade) is at high risk for oral disease due to poverty, lack of dental insurance, lack of water fluoridation, cultural and environmental issues, diet, and limited oral hygiene education. Although 750 children in Columbia County rely on Medicaid, no private dentists within the county accept Medicaid. In addition, Columbia County Memorial Hospital plans to discontinue dental services in mid-2009.

The goal of the Columbia County Oral Health Intervention Program is to reduce the dental caries of approximately 1,500 children in kindergarten through sixth grade over a three-year period. This oral health intervention program will be school-based, initiating in the grade schools within the city of Hudson in year one and expanding to the remainder of the grade schools within Columbia County in years two and three. The proposed program is based on a highly successful dental outreach model for Head Start children piloted by NYUCD in Hudson in October 2008 in cooperation with Columbia Opportunities, the Healthcare Consortium, and Columbia County Memorial Hospital. Based on this experience, NYUCD projects that Medicaid revenues will be sufficient to sustain the program after three years.