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Harris Fund grant recipients take on childhood caries

January 07, 2013

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

The ADA Foundation awarded 2012 Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health grants to 20 programs engaged in the battle to end early childhood caries.

The Foundation awarded more than $94,000 to the nonprofit organizations, which support programs that work to prevent early childhood caries through educating parents, caregivers and pregnant women on adequate oral health care.

The San Luis Obispo Public Health Department was granted $4,200 for its early intervention and education program targeting children from birth to 5 years and their mothers at Women, Infants and Children’s program sites.

Early education: Dr. Mark Macaoay teaches children about good oral health at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, N.Y., which was a recipient of a 2012 Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health grant.
“We’re using the grant to enhance the educational support materials that we provide to families,” said Theresa Anselmo, who manages the Oral Health Program for the San Luis Obispo County, Calif., Public Health Department.

“The other unique thing about this program is, while I’m a dental hygienist, a dental professional working in this WIC clinic, these materials are also distributed by nutritional counselors within the program. They are reinforcing the message,” Ms. Anselmo said.

Drs. Paul Chu and Dara Rosenberg direct a grant-winning oral health education program in the pediatric dental residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, N.Y. Dr. Chu said the program also educates WIC program recipients. “We educate mothers of the importance of proper oral hygiene, a good diet and establishment of a dental home,” Dr. Chu said.

St. Barnabas used its $5,000 Harris grant to pay for teaching aides, including typodonts, puppets and demonstration toothbrushes. “Many times the mothers bring the children to these WIC sessions, and it’s been wonderful,” Dr. Chu said.

Dr. Chu, program director of the pediatric dental residency, said the dentists also go beyond the WIC program to educate mothers on how to prevent early childhood caries.

“We’re not only performing outreach to the mothers in the area, but we’re educating pediatricians and local Head Start programs as well,” Dr. Chu said. “The dentists will demonstrate the typodonts for patients as well as the pediatricians themselves. The pediatricians enjoy it and request that we visit their offices more often.”

The list of 2012 Harris Fund grant recipients includes:

• Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas;

• Brite Smiles Inc., Minnesota;

• Child Health and Disability Prevention Program, California;

• Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, California;

• Erie Family Health Center, Illinois;

• Hamilton Health Center, Pennsylvania;

• Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, Massachusetts;

• Kent County Health Department, Michigan;

• Missouri Coalition for Primary Health Care, Missouri;

• New York University College of Dentistry, New York;

• PRASAD Children’s Dental Health Program, New York;

• Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, North Carolina;

• Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist Dental Clinic, Northern Mariana Islands;

• San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, California;

• Santa Barbara County Education Office, California;

• Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Inc., New Jersey;

• Southern Nevada Public Television, Nevada;

• St. Barnabas Hospital, New York;

• St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, Pennsylvania;

• Tuolumne Me-Wuk Dental Clinic, California.

The ADA Foundation established the ADAF Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health in 2000 to honor the legacy and spirit of Dr. Samuel Harris, a distinguished pediatric dentist and philanthropist. Dr. Harris made a generous contribution in 1998 to endow a fund for oral health education and prevention of early childhood dental disease. He challenged the then ADA Health Foundation to match his contribution.

Find more information about ADAF programs.