As part of its brightSMILES Dental Partnership, Sierra Health Foundation has awarded three grants to agencies involved in improving the oral health of Yolo County residents.
A $60,000 grant was awarded to CommuniCare Health Centers for school-based oral health services, the Sacramento District Dental Foundation was awarded a $120,000 grant to support its Smiles for Kids program, and the City of West Sacramento received a $250,000 grant as part of its larger investment in community water fluoridation.
The grant to CommuniCare Health Centers will enable the agency to expand its school-based Smile Saver program, established with funding from the California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program to serve low-income and special needs children.
With this three-year brightSMILES grant, an additional 82 students will receive dental sealants, and a pilot program will be initiated to provide fluoride varnish to 425 students at Esparto Elementary School and a number of special education students served by the Smile Saver program.
“We’re thrilled to be able to serve more children. Our Smile Savers Program allows children to receive services where they are – at school – eliminating a huge barrier to access,” said Robin Affrime, executive director of CommuniCare.
Nine other sites in counties throughout Northern California received similar grants to either expand existing CDDPP-funded programs to serve additional children or to establish new programs based on the CDDPP model.
The $120,000, three-year grant to Sacramento District Dental Foundation will support its volunteer-based program, Smiles for Kids, which provides prevention and treatment services to school-age children throughout Greater Sacramento, including Yolo County. Sacramento District Dental Foundation is the public charity arm of The Sacramento District Dental Society.
“Children who are in pain or embarrassed about their teeth can never reach their full potential,” said Don Rollofson, DDS, founder of Smiles for Kids. “Through Smiles for Kids our dental community can give their greatest gift, giving kids a smile,” Rollofson said. In 2006, more than 24,000 children, including 1,500 in Yolo County, were served by area volunteer dentists, hygienists and other dental professionals.
For the city of West Sacramento, Sierra Health’s brightSMILES grant is the final funding needed to purchase and install fluoridation equipment for the project, which will serve its 45,000 residents. Other funding partners include the city, Yolo County and other foundations.
“We are proud of the leadership of the City Council and the commitment of Yolo County, First 5 Yolo and other partners in making water fluoridation a reality in West Sacramento,” said Dorothy Meehan, Sierra Health’s vice president.