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  • Apr 27, 2022

CHA Oral Health Program Receives $15,000 MDS Foundation Grant

Grant Will Help Expand Access to Dental Care at Somerville High School

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. - April 27, 2022 — The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) Foundation recently awarded a $15,000 Access to Dental Care Grant to the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Somerville High School Oral Health Access program. These funds will be used to further support critical aspects of the program to better meet the needs of the students served.

The mission of the MDS Foundation is to improve the oral health of residents across Massachusetts by supporting sustainable programs that enhance access to dental care. "Giving access to oral health care is the cornerstone of this program. We are impressed with their drive to continually reach more people and improve quality," shared MDS Foundation Chair Dr. Robert Lewando. "The Foundation is proud to support this important program that encompasses the essence of our mission."

Cambridge Health Alliance's (CHA) Somerville High School (SHS) Oral Health Access Program provides high-quality and accessible oral health services to new SHS students experiencing significant barriers to care. Since many participants are unfamiliar with oral health care, they first receive educational, social, and emotional support. Many also receive transportation services. The program connects students with providers to build a trusting and patient-centered relationship to create a sustainable continuity of care.

Now entering its third year, the SHS Oral Health Access Program provides services for 60 students annually. "This unique partnership lifts up the care of those most in need in our community by building relationships with the families of Somerville," said CHA dentist Alec Eidelman, DMD, MPH, and manager of the Oral Health Access Program. “With the generous support of the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation, this high quality and accessible program has been able to provide routine and emergency services to SHS students and help address health disparities for more than 100 families."

This year's grant will be used to improve the program quality, including:

  • Decreasing wait times from identification of a problem to initiating treatment
  • Increasing access to basic, preventative, and educational resources at the high school
  • Enhancing communication between key players—including providers, care coordinators, and community partners.

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