Community outreach program named Geriatric Oral Health Care Award winner

Sept. 14, 2004
Award is given to programs that further the understanding and management of oral health care for the elderly.

Sponsored by
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Group

Highest Award

"Community Outreach Program"

The Academy of Prosthodontics' Community Outreach Program provides prosthodontic care to American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service. The program began in August 1993 when eight academy fellows and one guest technician were invited to provide clinical care to 30 patients.

The program operates out of Indian Health Service (IHS) sites with dental facilities and laboratory space. The target audience is edentulous patients, most of whom are 50 years and older. The program was initiated by the executive council of the Academy of Prosthodontics (AP), which continues to operate this program.

IHS facilities were chosen for this type of service because:
* There is demonstrated need.
* Temporary credentialing for providing health care was possible without involving state licensure.
* Each health center has dental facilities and usually some planned laboratory space.
* There are opportunities for no cost housing and meals for the volunteers.

Initially, the entire expense of the outreach activities was born by the AP Foundation with seed money coming from the Foundation itself and the editorial council of the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry along with donations from individual fellows of the AP.

Sites have been chosen that could be reached within a reasonable timeframe and cost considering airfare is the largest expense. Also, if more fellows are available to reach a site, it increases the possibility that sites can be added to the list.

Sites have to close most of their dental clinic facilities for the week to allow the delivery of this kind of service and, the local IHS dental staff must be available for assistance and necessary clinical support.