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CDC awards state oral health grants

Atlanta—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will award $4.6 million to 16 states over the next year to strengthen their public oral health programs, a down payment on a five-year $22 million investment.

"The states receiving these awards have documented significant challenges related to the oral health of their citizens," said Dr. William R. Maas, director of the CDC division of oral health. "For instance, Maryland has a need for statewide school-based services; the majority of eligible children in Minnesota do not receive dental sealants through public health care programs, and only 40 percent of people in Louisiana have fluoridated public water supplies."

The CDC will also support cooperative oral health agreements, renewable for up to five years and ranging from $234,408 to $355,000 a year, with Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

The American Dental Association advocates additional funding for this CDC activity in every annual appropriation approved by Congress.

Dr. Mark J. Feldman, ADA president, cited the CDC support as an investment in the public-private partnership for oral health. "The ADA and the CDC recognize the importance of the state public health infrastructure to the oral health of the nation, and these grants will enhance the capacity of state-based oral health programs. Our partners in this investment include the U.S. Congress, which appropriates the
funds."

The new cooperative agreements support four more state-based oral health programs than the CDC previously supported, but some other state applicants were deemed "approved but unfunded." The CDC said the cooperative agreements offer states additional opportunities to educate residents on the importance of oral health, develop plans to improve oral health and monitor oral health objectives.