Delta Dental, Howard University to help uninsured local families

Partnership will support a new dental clinic to be run by faculty, students and volunteer dentists for benefit of working families.

Delta Dental of the District of Columbia joins Howard University College of Dentistry in support of program serving local, uninsured, working families

One of the region's largest dental health plans has announced that it will partner with Howard University College of Dentistry in support of a new dental clinic run by faculty, students and volunteer dentists for the benefit of working, uninsured families.

At an outdoor ceremony attended by friends and supporters of the newly dedicated Thomas E. Jeter Dental Center, representatives of Delta Dental of the District of Columbia pledged $10,000, to fund one of the clinic's newest programs, connected with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pipeline, Profession and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education initiative.

Howard joins 14 other U.S. dental schools awarded initial funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment. The goal is to develop community-based clinical education programs around the country that provide care to the most vulnerable populations, and increase recruitment and retention of low-income and underrepresented minority students.

"With the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California Endowment, two local dental societies and now Delta Dental, we stand poised to have a powerful impact on the oral health of this community," said Howard University's Leo Rouse, DDS, dean of the College of Dentistry.

Program Director Donna Mills-Grant, DDS, a College of Dentistry faculty member who helped obtain the initial grant to launch the Dental Pipeline at Howard, notes the program will also integrate community-based practice experiences into the school's educational programs.

Delta Dental officials called their contribution an extension of the company's work with dental schools throughout the country to help address the growing problems of the dentally uninsured.

"It is a regrettable reality that private insurance alone cannot reach many families who are self-employed or work in a small business that may be struggling to just to meet payroll," said Richard Klich, DMD, vice president of professional relations for Delta Dental's mid-Atlantic region. "We applaud and support this type of collaborative effort, which brings organized dentistry, students and educators together to prevent and treat the effects of dental disease for those who otherwise could not afford those services."

Collaboration was a theme echoed by those attending from the District of Columbia and Robert T. Freeman dental societies.

"The District of Columbia Dental Society is pleased that Delta Dental has provided a grant to the clinic," said its executive director, C. Jay Brown. "This demonstrates a real partnership between the dental insurance industry and those in the District of Columbia who are attempting to address the dental needs of the uninsured."

Robert Caldwell, DDS of the National Dental Association and the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society noted that the Dental Pipeline will have one of its most important impacts on the young dental students who participate. "This will greatly enhance their ability to meet the cultural competencies that they will meet in the real world," he said.

Comments at the ceremony included a dedication to Dr. Thomas E. Jeter, DDS, who is the clinic's namesake. Dr. Jeter was a distinguished faculty member at Howard's College of Dentistry for over 33 years. He served as chair of the oral surgery department and associate dean for admissions and student affairs.

Dr. Jeter worked closely with others on the Dental Pipeline's Community-Based Dental Education program at Howard before his passing just last November.

Delta Dental of the District of Columbia is part of a larger, nonprofit holding company system that includes the Delta Dental Plans and their affiliated operations in 16 states, including Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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