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Two Kentucky programs receive oral health grants

CDHC, portable dental clinic supported

February 15, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Campbellsville, Ky.—Two Kentucky dental programs have received oral health grants from Avēsis Incorporated, a Phoenix-based subsidiary of the Guardian Life Insurance Co.

CDHC news: Myra Elliott, dean of academic services, and Dr. Devin Stephenson, president, Big Sandy Community & Technical College, pose with Dr. Jerry Caudill, at far right, Kentucky State Dental Director of Avesis Incorporated. Big Sandy received a $30,000 grant to fund a new Community Dental Health Coordinator certificate program.
Big Sandy Community & Technical College in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, was awarded a $30,000 grant to help fund the school's new Community Dental Health Coordinator certificate program. The Red Bird Mission Clinic in Beverly, Kentucky, received a $20,000 grant for a new portable dental clinic.

This is the first year for Big Sandy's CDHC program, which plans to teach students motivational interviewing skills, dental health teaching and promotional skills, and community mapping techniques before entering internships with dentists in Kentucky communities.

"It's exciting to be on the forefront of offering a unique program designed to improve the oral health of Kentucky," said Myra Elliott, dean of academic services at Big Sandy Community & Technical College. "The CDHC certificate is a critical addition to BSCTC current dental health programs."

The program will also create new job opportunities for the area, according to Ms. Elliott.

Dr. Collins
"This is an example of the right partners coming together to benefit citizens of our region," she said. "Eastern Kentucky residents live in a severely economically depressed area and are often unable to afford an education. In their role as administrator for the majority of the Medicaid dental program in Kentucky, Avēsis recognizes the importance of improving the oral health of Kentucky citizens. Through the generosity of Avēsis, it will allow for scholarships to the first cohort group in this program."

The new mobile dental clinic, expected to be operational in early 2018, will enable the Red Bird Mission Clinic to visit schools, senior centers, nursing homes and other remote locations. The van will be equipped with a dental chair, unit for basic exams, mobile X-ray unit, an autoclave, hand pieces, and other necessary equipment, according to the release.

"This generous grant will help us deliver a desperately needed service," said Dr. William Collins, dental director of the clinic and president, Kentucky Dental Association. "It will provide necessary dental care to needy children and disadvantaged adults currently not receiving it."