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ADA Foundation awards Harris Grants to battle childhood caries

August 10, 2016

By David Burger

ADA Foundation logo

Phoenix — Kathy Shurba, a dental hygienist with the Native American Community Health Center, has encountered families that either have no toothbrushes or share one brush among all the family members.

The Arizona center received a Harris Grant this summer to help remedy that problem.

The ADA Foundation awarded 25 organizations Harris Grants in July, a total of $119,930.62.

Since 1999, the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health, named for the noted pediatric dentist and philanthropist, has bestowed grants on organizations dedicated to fighting dental disease in children.

Grants of up to $5,000 each are offered to nonprofit organizations and agencies that sponsor education programs for parents and caregivers to reduce the incidence of early childhood caries.

Two young recipients of dental kits from Phoenix’s Native Health
Healthy Smiles, Healthy Life: Two young recipients of dental kits from Phoenix’s Native Health show off their bags. Native Health is a recipient of an ADA Foundation Harris Grant, and the grant is used to make the dental kits.
The Native American Community Health Center is a nonprofit community health center, providing primary care, dental, behavior health and other services to the American Indian and underserved populations in the Phoenix metropolitan area. With $5,000 granted by the ADA Foundation, the center will put together and distribute dental kits — including toothbrushes — and educational materials for pregnant women and mothers of young children through its Baby Smiles Oral Health Initiative, said Susan Levy, communications coordinator.

“We totally appreciate it,” said Ms. Levy. “It’s going to go a long way.”

Another recipient of a Harris Grant was the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Teeth Healthy Children program. As a statewide educational program focused on improving oral health care for children, Healthy Teeth Healthy Children provides oral health education to primary care providers, facilitates medical-dental partnerships and enhances oral health literacy for the community in an effort to incorporate oral health into overall health. The organization had never received a Harris Grant before, so Kristin Haegele Hill, program director, was “really excited” for the center in receiving the award. “It was such a great match for what we are doing. These funds will really help expand our reach in Pennsylvania.”

Healthy Teeth Healthy Children will use the $5,000 for the creation and distribution of 1,250 Oral Health Care Bags designed to teach pregnant women the importance of dental care. The bags, containing toothbrushes for the little ones as well as for the women, toothpaste and educational materials, will be passed out to OB-GYNs and other doctors who treat pregnant women.

The organizations receiving the grants are:

  • Aspen to Parachute Dental Health Alliance, Glenwood Springs, California
  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston
  • Bright Beginnings/Bright By Three, Denver
  • Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  •  Chaffee County Oral Health Program, Salida, Colorado
  • Children’s Dental Foundation, Long Beach, California
  • Children’s Dental Services, Minneapolis
  • Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, New York
  • El Rio Health Center Foundation, Tucson, Arizona
  • HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum St. Louis, St. Louis
  • Stony Brook Foundation, Stony Brook, New York
  • Kids Smiles, Philadelphia
  • Marion County Public Health Department, Knoxville, Iowa
  • Mariposa Community Health Center, Nogales, Arizona
  • Native American Community Health Center, Phoenix
  • Oral Health Kansas, Topeka, Kansas
  • Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Media, Pennsylvania
  • The Foundation for the LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
  • The Pilot Club of Jackson County, Given, West Virginia
  • United Way of Central Jersey, Milltown, New Jersey
  • Venice Family Clinic, Venice, California
  • Villa Therese Catholic Clinic, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, Cornelius, Oregon
  • Well Child Center, Elgin, Illinois
  • West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Morgantown, West Virginia

For more information about the Native American Community Health Center, visit For more information about the Healthy Teeth Healthy Children program of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, visit For more information about ADA Foundation grants, contact the Foundation at 312-440-2547 or