Funding will create dental certificate program
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Big Sandy Community & Technical College and the Red Bird Mission Clinic were awarded oral health grants totaling $50,000 from Avēsis Incorporated, an ancillary benefits administrator that has been providing vision, dental, and hearing benefits for millions of members throughout the country since 1978.
Big Sandy received a $30,000 grant to fund a new Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) certificate program, while the Red Bird Mission Clinic received a $20,000 grant for the purchase of a portable dental clinic.
CDHC is a new but integral member of the dental team, providing oral health promotion and disease prevention and community outreach duties. The first 15 students will be welcomed to the program in February. Because this is not a degree program, traditional financial aid is unavailable. The $30,000 award will serve as a scholarship fund so that hygienists, hygiene students and social workers can be trained.
Red Bird is a high-profile clinic located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where transportation is difficult, employment is sparse, and income is below the poverty level in 29 to 37 percent of the families who live in Bell, Clay, and Leslie Counties. The non-profit was founded in 1921 as a school and has grown to a full-service mission of the United Methodist Church, the only mission of its kind in the United States.
Funds will be used to procure equipment from Nashville Dental that will allow mobile dental clinic operation at schools, senior centers, nursing homes, and other remote locations.
The van will be equipped with a dental chair, a dental unit for basic exams, a mobile x-ray unit, an autoclave, dental hand pieces, and other necessary equipment. The equipment and supplies will also make simple restorations and extractions possible. Patient screening through blood pressure checks, A1C blood tests, and BMIs, done prior to treatment, could identify and refer those needing more extensive health care to medical doctors.
Tying these two grants together, Red Bird will employ one of the first graduates of Big Sandy’s CDHC certificate program to aid in the oral health coordination of their target population. The mobile clinic is expected to hit the road early next year, with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry joining for some of the clinics.