LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas - Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation recently presented a $30,000 grant to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) 12th Street Health & Wellness Center to help pay for additional dental care for patients seen first at the center.
Some center patients are referred for the next level of care to the UAMS Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation Oral Health Clinic. The 12th Street Center’s dental service has seen more than 400 patients since opening last year.
Students and others at the center gathered March 2 for a check presentation by Weldon Johnson, the foundation’s executive director, to UAMS Provost Stephanie Gardner, PharmD, Ed. D. and center director Lanita White, PharmD.
“I want to thank Delta Dental for all the support it has given UAMS over the years,” said Gardner. “The foundation’s gifts started in 1997 and since then have totaled over $2.1 million. Your support has contributed not only at the 12th Street Center, which is very exciting, but also to the oral health clinic on campus that bears the ‘Delta Dental’ name and to the dental hygiene program.”
Dental hygiene and dental students at the center provide oral screenings and basic dental care under supervision of licensed dentists and dental hygienists. Services there include cleanings, simple fillings and extractions.
The interprofessional 12th Street Center opened in 2013. There, students from all of the UAMS colleges and the Graduate School provide health and wellness services, including disease and medication management, dental screenings, health screenings, education and immunizations for the community.
“The thing that really struck me the first time I came to visit the 12th Street Center was that this was the place to be,” said Johnson. “This center is doing exactly what we at Delta Dental are trying to do, helping the people of Arkansas. Separately, there is never enough money or people to help, but together UAMS, Dental Dental and our other partners can make a positive difference.”
Students on hand for the presentation included students in the dental hygiene program of the UAMS College of Health Professions and senior dental students from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry. Groups of UTHSC dental students started making two-week clinical rotations to UAMS in early 2014, hosted by the UAMS Center for Dental Education, getting clinical experience in dental clinics at UAMS, the 12th Street Center and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“Our dental educators and students are getting certificates of care for dental treatment,” said White. “Thank you, Delta Dental, for making that possible. This grant allows us to send patients to the clinic on campus for the next level of care. We always have a full dental clinic whenever we’re open. The foundation’s generosity allows us to expand and help our patients and our students, too.”
Delta Dental of Arkansas has been writing group dental insurance since 1982 and currently serves more than 1,000 participating Arkansas dentists, 2,900 employer groups and nearly 1.9 million individuals. Delta Dental is the largest dental benefits provider in the state of Arkansas and is a member of Delta Dental Plans Association, a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 60 million Americans in more than 111,000 employee groups throughout the country.
In addition to providing excellent dental coverage, Delta Dental of Arkansas contributes more than $1 million each year to support programs designed to improve the oral health of Arkansans.
This article was originally published on the Healthcare Journal of Little Rock website.