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ADA Foundation awards grant to improve access for children with special needs

May 29, 2019


ADA Foundation logoThe ADA Foundation will award a three-year, $375,000 grant to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center to support a new program designed to improve access to oral health care for children with special needs.

The grant funding will support the medical center’s dental anesthesiology residency program, which will operate in conjunction with the general practice residency and special needs dentistry programs to deliver oral care to patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The new program will be a model for the advanced training of dental anesthesiologists, who often have to provide deep sedation or general anesthesia for children with developmental or physical disabilities. These children’s access to such care is often limited by the availability of hospital operating room time.

“The special needs program at Advocate Illinois Masonic is truly impressive,” said Dr. William R. Calnon, ADA Foundation president. “Children with all types of disabilities, both developmental and physical, are provided with access to excellent treatment. The dental anesthesia residency is a very innovative addition to an already superb program and will allow more kids to avoid hospital operating rooms.”

Program goals include:

  • Expanding the medical center’s special needs dentistry program to serve more children at an earlier age through referral relationships that link children with special needs to a dental home at the dental center.
  • Improving care for children with special needs through increased capacity to manage cases in an outpatient setting.
  • Providing a model program for improving the oral health status of children with special needs.

“This generous grant will enable us to enhance our special needs dentistry program by further expanding access to oral care for this very vulnerable patient population,” said Dr. James Benz, chair of dentistry at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Advocate Illinois Masonic’s dental anesthesia residents will work alongside general practice residents to treat patients with special needs in the operating room and newly built anesthesia suite in the department of dentistry. The program is enhanced by a mobile dental van, which residents rotate weekly with staff to offer oral care to special needs patients who would not otherwise be able to access this type of care.

To make a donation to the ADA Foundation or to learn more about this and other programs, visit ADAFoundation.org.