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Scoring one for the home team

Columbia University launches new mobile van with $250,000 gift from Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez

New York—The Columbia University School of Dental Medicine scored one for the home team this year with a $250,000 donation from New York Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

The gift supports Columbia's Community DentCare programs, which provide school-based care throughout New York City that includes oral health education and preventive and comprehensive treatment.

Mr. Rodriguez was on hand July 23 to christen Columbia's new mobile van at a middle school in the Washington Heights neighborhood.

"A winning smile builds confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime," said the three-time American League Most Valuable Player. "Every child deserves access to regular dental visits, and it is reassuring to know that this new dental van will serve nearly 3,000 children in the community where I was born and its surrounding neighborhoods."

The new mobile dental van will travel to 65 different locations including Head Starts, public schools and daycare centers located throughout Washington Heights/Inwood, Harlem and the Bronx.

The failure to prevent dental diseases has a large effect on school attendance, said Dr. Stephen Marshall, associate professor of clinical dentistry and head of Community DentCare.  

"That loss could be sharply reduced with timely receipt of preventive services, and is part of the reason why Alex Rodriguez's gift, which will be used to expand access to oral health care for children, is so deeply appreciated," he said.