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Public health students secure grant for kid’s dental care

Oregon State University graduate students in public health helped the Boys & Girls Club of Albany secure a grant to fund a dental clinic that will provide low-cost care to more than 1,600 local children and family members annually.   Alynn Vienot, Chantell James, Stacy Nedry-Johnson, and Alison Olson wrote a grant to the Oregon Community Foundation that secured $117,500 to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Albany’s new dental clinic, scheduled to open in 2011. The students prepared the grant as part of a project in Nancy Seifert’s graduate-level public health class.

“Local dental resources for low-income, uninsured populations are very limited, so this grant is an exciting opportunity to expand access to dental care for children and families,” explains Alynn Vienot.  “I am thankful for the opportunity we had to work on this project and for the tangible results that will come as a result!”

The grant is a one-time capital expenditure to develop the clinic and will provide matching funds for a coordinator, bilingual assistant and dentists to cover days when volunteer providers cannot come to the clinic. Children who are referred from schools will also be treated.

According to the Boys & Girls Club, tooth decay in young children is on the rise for the first time in 40 years. A lack of insurance, inadequate education about the value of preventive care, and limited access to transportation are all cited as reasons for the increase.

One of the program’s goals is to increase enrollments in the Oregon Healthy Kids insurance program through the Oregon Health Plan.  “I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of the clinic on the dental health of the populations served, and hope to see further development of other local dental resources serving low-income, uninsured populations,” says Alynn.

“Working with  David Triebes of Albany General Hospital,  Stephanie Hagerty of Albany InReach and the Albany Boys & Girls Club provided our students with a ‘real-world’ case study opportunity to the strategic management class,” says Nancy Seifert.  “OSU is well represented by these graduate students who gave 150% effort to increase access to needed dental services for Linn County.” See more details in the Oregon State Daily Barometer.