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ADA Foundation Challenge seeks to raise $125,000 for patients with special needs

August 01, 2018

By Kimber Solana

For the month of August, the ADA Foundation is challenging Association members to help raise $125,000 to fund grant programs benefitting special needs patients.
Henry Schein Cares, the company's global corporate social responsibility program, will match up to $125,000 — for a total of a quarter million dollars that the ADA Foundation will dedicate to improving access to oral health care for patients with special needs.    

According to the ADA Foundation, it plans to build relationships with groups that are improving access to care for special needs patients and those finding new ways to address the issue.
Image of ADA Foundation logoPatients with special needs are those who due to physical, medical, developmental or cognitive disabilities require special consideration when receiving dental treatment. This can include people with autism, Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome, spinal cord injuries and countless other conditions or injuries that can make standard dental procedures more difficult.
"There are many barriers to quality oral health care for people with disabilities, whether they be physical, financial or simply finding a dentist who understands their needs," said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc. "I encourage the dental community to contribute to the Henry Schein Cares challenge so we can foster an improved understanding of this critically important issue and spur action towards enhancing the oral health, overall health, and quality of life of this most deserving population."
Earlier this year, Nassau County Dental Society's Give Kids A Smile program included about a dozen students from The Henry Viscardi School, a Long Island, N.Y.-based school for children with severe physical disabilities. The school is part of The Viscardi Center, a network of nonprofit organizations that provides services for children and adults with disabilities. Program organizers said options for dental care among patients with physical, medical, developmental or cognitive disabilities are often limited because of issues such as low insurance reimbursement rates or lack of training and proper equipment.    
The Henry Schein Cares challenge is the latest example of the company's commitment to enhancing the oral health of people with disabilities. In October 2017, The Viscardi Center joined with Henry Schein to create Project Accessible Oral Health, an international public-private partnership that aims to raise awareness of the oral health challenges facing this population, educate policymakers and industry stakeholders about this important health issue, and advocate for improvements in the delivery of care. Most recently, the company entered into a multi-year agreement with Special Olympics to support the organization's Healthy Athletes program that delivers health care and education among athletes with intellectual disabilities at select Special Olympics events around the world.

After the ADA Foundation's fundraising campaign concludes, it plans to begin accepting letters of intent and then narrow down candidates for an application process to begin by the end of 2018.

"The ADA Foundation is seizing this opportunity to challenge the dental community to come together and increase access to oral health care for one of our most vulnerable populations: people with special needs," said Dr. William R. Calnon, president of the ADA Foundation. "For years, many dedicated professionals and organizations have worked tirelessly to improve the oral health of these high-risk patients. Unfortunately many challenges persist regarding access to appropriate timely diagnosis and treatment. We thank Henry Schein Cares for their continued support as we continue to address various barriers to care."

To donate, visit For more information, contact Marshall Hayes, ADA Foundation development director, at