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Foundation Awards Four Grants in 2013

The 2013 MDA Foundation grants will help fund a senior dental day in Grand Rapids; assist a new dental access initiative in Lansing; provide dental appointments to disadvantaged children in Ottawa County through a mobile dental unit; and enable more than 100 low-income patients to receive dental care in Traverse City..

This year’s recipients received a $5,000 grant to be used by the facility to provide access to care and oral health education to the underserved.

That’s how your MDA Foundation is making a difference in the oral health of Michigan residents, through its Dr. Matthew E. Uday Access to Care/Oral Health Initiatives Grants. This year’s grants totaled $20,000, bringing the total in Foundation grants over the past nine years to $125,000.

Making a donation to the Michigan Dental Association Foundation assists in providing grants like these. For more information on how to make a donation, call the Michigan Dental Association Foundation at 800-589-2632 or visit The Access to Care/Oral Health Initiative grants are named in honor of Dr. Matthew Uday, who was a former member of the Foundation board of directors who passed away in December 2009.

This year’s recipients are:

  • The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, located in Grand Rapids;
  • Care Free Medical and Dental Clinic, in Lansing;
  • The Ottawa County Health Department Miles of Smiles Program; and
  • Traverse Health Clinic in Traverse City.

Each of the recipients received a $5,000 grant, said Dr. Joan McGowan Schmerl, outgoing chair of the Foundation’s grant administration committee.

“These organizations are serving Michigan residents, providing much-needed access to oral health care. We commend their spirit and are happy to provide grants for them to continue their missions serving the underserved,” Schmerl said.

Here’s more on this year’s grants . . .

Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan

Area Agency on Aging of West MichiganThe Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan received a Foundation grant to cover labor expenses for its Senior Dental Day, which occurred Dec. 13, 2013. The goal of this event is to provide at least 40 Kent County low-income senior citizens and disabled adults with dental care including a no-cost dental exam, teeth cleaning, full mouth X-rays, a patient education and oral care plan, and a dental home referral. Another goal of the event is to increase awareness in Kent County and throughout the state for the need of improved dental access to care for low-income seniors and disabled adults. A similar event held in 2012 was very successful, with more than 100 volunteers treating 38 senior patients.

Care Free Medical & Dental Clinic

Care Free Medical & Dental ClinicLansing’s Care Free Medical and Dental Clinic received Foundation funding to support a new Pay-It-Forward Dental Access Initiative. This initiative, in partnership with the Central District Dental Society, will provide acute dental services for Ingham County adult residents without dental insurance in exchange for patients completing community service hours. The ambitious program seeks to decrease Care Free’s 700-person dental waiting list to below 50 by July 2014; provide dental services to 85 percent of county residents in need without dental insurance by December 2016; decrease unreimburesed emergency room visits for dental problems by 80 percent by December 2016; and increase community service hours by 50 percent by December 2016. The Foundation grant will add to a large funding pool including McLaren Health system, Sparrow Health System, the Delta Dental Foundation, and a number of other groups.

Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental Unit

Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental UnitThe Ottawa County Health Department’s Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental Unit Outreach Initiative helps provide comprehensive dental services for financially qualifying, low-income, uninsured children in Ottawa County schools, Head Start programs, summer health department sites, summer migrant programs, and others. The Miles of Smiles dental unit is a 40-foot, custom-designed dental office on wheels, consisting of two dental operatories, a lab with sterilization, waiting room with desk, two X-ray units with digital X-rays, and more. This year’s MDA Foundation grant is expected to cover 354 dental service units at 72 appointments.

Traverse Health Clinic

The Traverse Health Clinic will use its MDA Foundation grant to help underwrite University of Michigan dental outreach events. The U-M outreach program, which began in 2011, is a collaborative research involving the clinic, U-M dental students, local dentists, dental assisting students at Northern Michigan University, and oral surgeons. The goal for 2014 is to increase access to dental care to an additional 110 people over the next 12 months and to bring 100 percent of them to a healthy mouth.



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