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Helping older adults in nursing homes maintain good oral health can be a challenge--one that Foundation for Quality Care addressed with its Mouth Care Without a Battle program, which benefited from a $25,000 DTA Foundation grant in 2015. Since then, the program has helped train caregivers in more than 20 facilities.

Thanks to a $25,000 DTA Foundation grant in 2015, Kids Smiles, which serves low-income, at-risk children in underserved Philadelphia neighborhoods, has been able to implement the Electronic Oral Health Screening System to benefit kids’ oral health.

“Over 90% of Kids Smiles’ patients are insured by Medicaid, CHIP, or are completely uninsured,” said Kids Smiles CEO Cheryl Janssen. “While the Electronic Oral Health Screening System (EOHSS) pilot project participants were Kids Smiles patients, the goal of the project is to create a consistent, uniform screening process that will be used on all children nationwide.”

“The most significant outcome of the project other than the tremendous learnings that took place at the training events, was the conversion of the first Smile Generation-supported dental practice dedicated to treating patients with special needs,” said Ms. Vartanian. “This completely sensory integrated practice will now have the capacity to support individuals with not only intellectual disabilities, but those with physical ones as well.”

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More than 3,600 families had a little something extra at bedtime thanks to the New Jersey Department of Health, Children's Oral Health Program and a $25,000 grant from the DTA Foundation in 2015.

“Bedtime Bytes (BB) was an interactive oral health project that was implemented at two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and the College of New Jersey/School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science,” said Beverly Kupiec-Sce, Ph.D., R.N., director of the children’s oral health program. “The goals were to increase oral health literacy, assist in establishing a dental home, and improve the oral health status of high-risk children.Oral health training was conducted for a multi-disciplinary staff of pediatricians, family practice physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered and licensed practical nurses and medical assistants. A training was also conducted for senior-level community health nursing students at the College of New Jersey.”

Dr. Debra Peterson’s commitment to community volunteering helped single her out to the DTA Foundation Scholarship Committee, which awarded her a scholarship in 2015. Recently we caught up with her to find out where she is now in her career and what the future holds for her.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

Dr. Brian Lehigh was a student at the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2015 when he received a DTA Foundation scholarship for students who showed a dedication to community service. Recently we caught up with the West Los Angeles VA periodontal resident to find out what he’s up to now.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

As a student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Joseph DePalo was committed to volunteering to help his community—a dedication that helped earn him a 2015 DTA Foundation scholarship. Today, as a resident in pediatric dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital/The Ohio State University, he remains committed to helping his community. Recently we caught up with him to find out how his life has changed since he received the scholarship.

What are your three biggest takeaways from dental school as you move forward with your career?

Paul Hinsch is vice president of merchandise marketing at Henry Schein and chair of the DTA Foundation board. He appreciated the value of the DTA Foundation mission from the very start, having joined the Foundation in 2009. But as he tells it, “I didn’t make a deeper emotional connection until I started meeting our outstanding grant and scholarship recipients.”

“When we've taught a dental lesson, many of the students haven’t owned a toothbrush,” says Karen Pesce Buckenheimer, executive director of MORE Health, an almost 30-year-old organization with the goal of addressing health education in three counties in and around Tampa, Florida. “We hand them out and kids say, ‘I’m so excited to have my first toothbrush,’ or ‘I can’t wait to share this with my family.’”

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By DTA Foundation Executive Director Laura Fleming Doyle