AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Oral Health Funders announced recently that it has awarded $99,611 to six organizations to develop community-based strategies to prevent dental disease in children, through a combination of prevention activities and service coordination.
Grantees, which are located throughout the state, include Healthy Maine Partnerships, a community health center, a safety-net dental clinic, and a public health district. The goal of the grants is to develop plans that would lead to reducing local rates of tooth decay by 10 percent in children through 9 years old in five years.
“We know the right things to do to prevent early childhood dental problems,” said Barbara Leonard, vice president for programs at Maine Health Access Foundation, in a press release. “There are proven ways to prevent tooth decay in children, and we want to help Maine communities put this knowledge into action.”
The grants are intended to help communities bring together a variety of organizations that touch children’s lives, such as schools, medical and dental providers, public health organizations, WIC clinics, Head Start Programs, community recreation centers, and local businesses to put together coordinated efforts to improve children’s oral health. Communities that develop solid plans will be able to apply for additional funds to implement their plans.
“There has been great enthusiasm around the state about this opportunity,” stated Karin Anderson, a consultant to the Maine Oral Health Funders, in a press release. “The Maine Oral Health Funders are extremely pleased that they will be able to award grants to support work in seven different counties.”
“According to a new survey, comprehensive oral health services continue to be out of reach for many low- and middle-income Mainers,” said Ms. Leonard. “Data from the Maine Health Access Foundation’s recent Maine Health Reform Monitoring Survey showed that significant percentages of low and middle-income people could not afford to get needed dental care in the last year. We hope that these grants will help to keep some children from ever needing treatment for dental disease in the first place.”
The Maine Oral Health Funders is a group of foundations that convenes to share information, develop collaborative opportunities, and frame complementary funding strategies. The purpose of MOHF is to promote strategic systemic changes that will result in improved oral health for all Maine people.
The following Improving Children’s Oral Health grants have been awarded:
— Fish River Rural Health, Eagle Lake: $20,000; contact Heather Pelletier, firstname.lastname@example.org, 444-5973.
— Healthy Lakes Healthy Maine Partnership/The Opportunity Alliance, Bridgton: $19,888; contact Zoe Miller, coalition director, 553-5939.
— Community Dental, Farmington: $19,658; contact Lisa Kavanaugh, email@example.com, 874-1025, ext. 3010.
— Central Maine Public Health District/MaineGeneral Medical Center, Waterville: $20,000; contact Natalie Morse, director, Prevention Center, 861-5272.
— Lincoln County Dental, Damariscotta: $19,711; contact Kathryn Young, clinical director, 563-8668.
— River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, Rumford: $18,354; contact Patty Duguay, director, 364-7408.