DentaQuest Foundation awards grants in Florida

Feb. 9, 2010
Grants aimed to strengthen oral health safety net and tackle oral health awareness.

The DentaQuest Foundation is attempting to improve oral health for Florida's children and youth through a series of grants.

The Foundation, working in partnership with other organizations throughout the state to provide dental care services to the uninsured, and improve oral health literacy and awareness in Florida, recently awarded six grants totaling $477,378 in Florida.

Of this amount, $135,000 went to the FrameWorks Institute and $85,000 to More Health. for statewide oral health awareness, $150,000 to Florida Public Health Institute to support the development of Oral Health Coalitions that promote sustainable solutions for better oral health, and $50,000 each to Borinquen Health Care Center and Community Health of South Florida, as well as $7,378 to Health Choice Network to preserve the dental Safety Set and increase the number of vulnerable children served.

Together, these grants support a multiyear and multi-pronged strategy for raising oral health awareness throughout the state and providing the technical assistance and services needed to strengthen Florida's Dental Safety Net that provides for the state's underinsured populations.

In addition to these grants, the DentaQuest Institute is part of the Health Foundation of South Florida's five-year, $7 million oral health initiative to increase access to oral health services in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

In tough economic times, safety net dental care providers experience dramatic growth in the number of individuals and families seeking services. The DentaQuest Institute's Safety Net Solutions program has been successful in helping health centers nationally prepare for and manage the demand for their services so they are better able to help more people in need of care.

"Progress in addressing oral health disparities requires the support and engagement of the entire community," explained Ralph Fuccillo, DentaQuest Foundation president.

"Equipped with effective tools and knowledge, community leaders, parents, health-care providers, educators and the general public can more easily tackle oral health problems. We applaud the statewide response to gaps in access and feel certain that these grants will further Florida's statewide efforts to improve oral health."

Dental disease--tooth decay--is the most common chronic childhood disease. It is also preventable with proper care. Yet in 2008, more than one-third of Florida's children ages 1-17 years old did not have a single dentist's visit.

This is coupled with the fact that, as America's economic situation remains volatile, safety net dental practices across the state are struggling to provide quality care for these vulnerable people while maintaining sufficient financial performance to keep their practices open.

For more information, visit DentaQuest Foundation.

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