Back to top

DTA Foundation Awards Nine Grants To Innovative Dental Programs

Please join us in congratulating the 2017 DTA Foundation grant winners. Each year the Foundation awards $25,000 grants to help fund innovative projects designed to improve oral health care for Americans in need, the disabled or the elderly.

2017 DTA Foundation Grant Recipients

Children’s Dental Health Project - Messaging for Oral Health Coverage

“State-based children's and health advocates are in a unique position to influence policymakers, including their members of Congress and state officials (legislators, Medicaid officials, etc.). Using the message testing that we completed, CDHP seeks to identify state-based advocacy partners to tailor those messages to their communities. Through collaboration with state advocacy partners, CDHP will augment the process with state-targeted message testing. These findings will be used to develop infographics and/or social media messages to raise the visibility of oral health and communicate the need to stabilize oral health payment/coverage for families. While we seek funding to work with one state, CDHP is currently recruiting additional funders to further expand these activities to multiple states. As we move from state to state, CDHP will seek to learn lessons that can refine our strategies to improve the odds of success and create a consistent visual presence across the country.”

Children’s Dental Services - Teledentistry and Portable Dental Care Improving Access in Rural Minnesota

“Children's Dental Services (CDS) will expand dental services via an innovative teledentistry and portable care program that may be replicated by other states. Care will be expanded to under-served communities in Northern and Southwest Minnesota, including Aitkin, Redwood, and Pipestone Counties, which represent rural and difficult to reach residents. Under telehealth legislation, CDS will purchase equipment necessary to enable examinations, treatment plans, and follow up care to be provided in an exceptionally cost-effective manner to this community. Under this program, CDS will serve at least 500 children and pregnant women in these regions, over 50 percent of whom will be recent immigrants.”

Center for Disability Services, Inc. - Oral Hygiene Apparatus for Individuals With Disabilities

“LQSI's engineering team is developing a simple, safe, effective in-mouth apparatus that is an alternative to a hand-held toothbrush and requires minimal hand strength and dexterity. This new and innovative approach will not only help current individuals with disabilities, but the future lives of all who, one day, may become disabled because of illness, accident or from aging. The goal is to produce a highly effective oral hygiene product that will assist in healthy brushing to prevent gum disease and tooth decay, reduce potential future healthcare costs, and foster higher quality lifestyles and independence for individuals with disabilities or chronic medical conditions. This product will be marketed not only for the consumers served at the Center, but will be made available for other individuals with disabilities nationally and globally as well.

Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center Inc. - Oral Health Education and Peer Ambassador Program for Low-Income Seniors

“The grant would allow us to design and test a post-treatment oral health education class, one of the first of its kind, and create an Oral Health Peer Ambassador Program to add to the continuum of our holistic services. As a learn-and-do organization, the SDC will pilot the post-treatment class to address issues identified in our first year of operations. This post-treatment class will not only give them the opportunity to interact with our staff on clinical issues but also foster peer-to-peer dialogue and support. Given our commitment to restoring oral health, we want to ensure that our patients have the support, knowledge, and skills needed to maintain their dental health between the time they finish their treatment plan and come in for their six-month recall visit. Seniors that complete the full cycle of oral healthcare services, will then be asked to join an Oral Health Peer Ambassador Program to help incoming patients learn about and navigate their oral healthcare. The post-treatment class will be evaluated using a participant survey on pre- and post-knowledge and class feedback. We will evaluate the number of unnecessary follow-up visits scheduled before and after the pilot of the class. The goal of the Peer Ambassador Program is to meaningfully engage seniors in promoting oral health among their peers and community. The post-treatment class and Peer Ambassador Program will become integral parts of our oral health prevention program, which we plan to replicate in off-site locations, thus providing care for more seniors and in varied settings.”

Oral Health America - Older Americans Health Screening Project

“Nascent efforts in several states suggest that OHA can rally organizations and ensure that when the 2026 reauthorization is at hand, that we have seized the opportunity to implement what we have advocated for--providing older adults increased access to oral healthcare. Our proposed project has several phases: 1) Survey and select a state, with optimum conditions for the pilot; 2) Select a state-level principal investigator to work with OHA in organizing local constituents from various disciplines to lay out the pilot plan; 3) Conduct the pilot utilizing the Basic Screening Survey (BSS), developed in 1999 by the Ohio Department of Health and American Society and State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD); and 4) Analyze results and disseminate information about the model for adoption/recalibration at the state and community level.”

The University of Texas Health Science Center - Improving Oral Health and Reducing Pain Due to Mucositis

“There is a great need for an efficacious treatment to prevent and/or attenuate oral mucositis in susceptible dental patients. Based upon our own and collaborative experience, the protective role of surface-active phospholipids (SAPL), and specifically phosphatidylcholine (PC) to protect the stomach and lower gut from injury has previously been demonstrated in animal and human studies. We propose a pilot clinical study with dental patients to investigate the role of SAPLs and their associated proteins (SPs) in the etiology of oral mucositis/xerostomia. We will also investigate the potential role of purified soy PC to treat/prevent this condition either on its own or when complexed with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen-PC, as administered as a mouthwash of a peptide of SP-B. In proposed in vitro and in vivo experiments, PIs Drs. Shawn Adibi and Walid Fakhouri at UTSD will investigate the presence of SAPLs and SPs in the gingival cells and saliva (control vs effected). In this proposal, we will assess the presence of SAPLs and SPs in the saliva of dental patients under the care of Dr. Shawn Adibi at UTSD where we plan to stratify the patients on the basis of sex (male vs female), age, medications, medical history, and smoking status. The expression level will be evaluated at Dr. Fakhouri’s lab at UTSD’s Center for Craniofacial Research. This project may lead to both an increased understanding of the role of SAPLs and SPs in the pathogenesis or oral mucositis, dry mouth, Sjogren’s Syndrome and the development of an effective and economical novel PC-based therapy to relieve these painful inflammatory conditions in the vulnerable dental patient population.”

Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation and Health Center - Virginia Garcia Virtual Dental Home

“Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center dental staff have spent the last year developing the infrastructure for an evidence-based telehealth dentistry pilot program, aka Virtual Dental Home, for the children in our communities who lack access to dental care. The pilot implementation of telehealth dentistry in fall 2017 at two high-needs elementary schools in Washington County, Oregon will create a Virtual Dental Home and increase access to oral health care for at least 175 children in grades K-8. As part of this innovative pilot, a hygienist-led team, visiting each school, will act as a liaison to the dentist. Using a portable x-ray and an intraoral camera to capture a full comprehensive dental record for each child, the staff will then share the information electronically with an off-site dentist. The dentist will review the patient’s information, via the virtual exam, and determine whether the child should be treated at one of our five non-profit Virginia Garcia dental clinics or referred to an outside dental program. We expect to improve the oral health of children in our underserved communities, who don’t often get care through the traditional dental model, and will work to ensure they have a dental home with Virginia Garcia.”

The Viscardi Center - Project Accessible Oral Health

“The two-day Project Accessible Oral Health meeting is set to bring together both frontrunners and stakeholders from the disabled community, dental/medical/health care providers, academic institutions, educators, advocacy agencies, policy makers, legislators, media, social workers, administrators, insurance companies and manufacturers. Through comprehensive panel discussions, workshops, and breakout sessions, The Viscardi Center will facilitate the creation of whitepapers that will outline goals and objectives for the development of an oral health program that works to reduce disparities and expand access to care, increase the delivery of health and wellness education, and discuss best practices for early intervention and preventative treatment. Additionally, we expect our findings to be leveraged by all involved parties so that our work is a shared resource to guide and direct a universal movement to change the current state of oral health care infrastructure and capacity for this underserved population.”

2017 DTA Foundation/Dental Lifeline Network Grant Recipient

University of Washington - Digital Dentistry for Oral Rehabilitation of Patients with Special Needs

“Digital dentistry and CAD/CAM restoration are rapidly developing fields in dentistry. The technology has been generally perceived as a luxury or expensive treatment option. However, we believe the ground-breaking advances have a great potential to improve the quality of life and meet needs of underserved and special needs populations. The project will focus on development and evaluation of an economically affordable, totally non-invasive, and time-efficient approach for oral rehabilitation in individuals with severe loss of chewing function due to the absence or loss of dental coronal tissue and special needs limiting their access to regular dental care.”

About the Grants

To be considered for one of the DTA Foundation $25,000 grants, organizations with an innovative project designed to improve oral health care for Americans in need, the disabled or the elderly must be able to demonstrate that their innovative project will improve access to oral care in their immediate area and has the potential to grow and be implemented in other areas of the country.

To be considered for the $25,000 DTA Foundation/Dental Lifeline Network Grant, organizations with an innovative project specifically related to providing access to comprehensive dentistry for Americans in need, the disabled, the elderly or the medically compromised must demonstrate how it would be sustainable and replicable once established.

The 2018 grant process will open in January. Click here for more information.