SBU DENTAL SCHOOL RECEIVES $3.17 MILLION GRANT TO INCREASE PRIMARY ORAL CARE SERVICES TO THOSE IN NEED
Grant Allows Expansion of Dental Care Center, Implementation of a Mobile Clinic
STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 17, 2008 – The Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine was awarded a $3,170,000 grant from New York State Department of Health’s Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers Grant Program (HEAL NY). The grant was one of only two awarded to dental schools in the state and will result in increased access to primary oral health care services for underserved populations on Long Island.
Nearly 10,000 patients are cared for annually through the School of Dental Medicine’s Dental Care Center (DCC), which servers primarily the poor, underserved, pediatric and elderly populations, and patients with special needs. During the past six years, patient visits at the DCC have increased 41 percent, therefore the need for additional space, equipment, staffing and resources is paramount.
“Attaining this grant is an outstanding accomplishment for the School of Dental Medicine and one that will greatly impact many of our citizens who need access to oral health preventive and treatment services,” says Lorne M. Golub, D.M.D., Interim Dean, SBU School of Dental Medicine.
“HEAL NY funding allows our School to more effectively serve a larger population for all of their oral health needs,” says Allan J. Kucine, D.D.S., Principal Investigator and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, School of Dental Medicine. “Oral health is integral to overall health, and by expanding our services we will be helping populations that frequently suffer more chronic disease and often have limited access to healthcare.”
According to Dr. Kucine, the School will use the HEAL NY grant to create new clinic space and expand services over the next several years, with most of the anticipated growth projected from 2009 to 2011.
The expansion includes an addition of 29 operatories, stand-alone examination areas equipped with instrumentation and supplies for screening and primary oral health care, within the DCC; an increase in the number of oral health care providers, including oral hygienists and dental residents; a 20 percent increase in patients and a 15 percent increase in scheduled patient visits per year; a broadening DCC scope of services, and the implementation a Mobile Oral Health Services Clinic.
Specialty services to be broadened under the expansion plan include Dental Emergency, Specialty Medical Needs, Screening and Diagnosis/Intake, and Oral Diagnostics/Oral Medicine. Dr. Kucine says the expansion of these services will benefit patients with more challenging oral health problems and those with conditions that may complicate care, such as patients with cancer, chronic diseases, or pregnant women.
Providing oral health screening and primary care for children is a large part of the DCC practice. Reaching out to communities that have children in need of care will be a primary function of the new Mobile Oral Health Services Clinic. A mobile dental van equipped with three dental operatories, radiographic units and a complete set of support equipment will be purchased under the grant. The mobile clinic will serve families directly within their communities throughout Long Island, particularly in underserved communities in central and eastern Suffolk County.
“The mobile van will reduce barriers to primary care for many people, barriers such as lack of transportation, access to providers who serve Medicaid patients,” explains Dr. Kucine. He estimates that oral health care providers through the mobile clinic will be able to perform approximately 30 patient visits per day when performing comprehensive and emergent care, and several times that amount during oral health screening and preventive services sessions.
Dr. Kucine says the entire expansion will also increase the opportunities for dental students and residents in primary and specialty oral health care training, with a special emphasis on using the latest techniques and technology to provide primary care for underserved populations on Long Island.
Established in 1968, the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine serves patients through its clinical and educational initiatives. The primary educational mission of the School is to graduate caring and skilled dentists and dental specialists who provide compassionate, patient-centered care in a professional manner and in all cultural contexts. The School supports research efforts to advance oral and systemic health through collaborations with medical colleagues, industry, private foundations and governmental agencies.