The LECOM School of Dental Medicine Erie Dental Offices took another step in bringing education and dental care to underserved populations when it received a $10,000 Helping Today Grant from the Erie Community Foundation and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) this month.
The grant will go toward the Dental Office’s Dental Education Network and Treatment for Community Oral Health (DENTCOL) project, which will offer free educational programming during monthly outreach events held at various community sites. Certain sites will also offer screenings.
The project, which is partially funded by the grant from the Erie County Community Foundation and ECGRA, is intended to address Erie County’s critical need for accessible and affordable oral health care, which directly advances LECOM’s mission by helping improve the health of the community.
The project, which is manned by LECOM School of Dental Medicine students, faculty and staff, will collaborate with local community organizations that serve in-need and at-risk populations in order to accomplish this aspect of the project while reaching as many people as possible.
ECGRA Grants Manager Tom Maggio presented the grant at the Erie Community Foundation’s second quarter grant reception, which was held at the new home of the Lake Erie Ballet, at 1020 Holland St., in Erie.
“Thank you for the work that you do,” said Maggio of the LECOM Erie Dental Offices. “We are pleased to be a part of this.”
The majority of the work completed in the DENTCOL project will be done by School of Dental Medicine students, using a kit of educational and promotional materials that the project team will develop. Those materials will be distributed to community organizations.
Additionally, those involved in the project will continue to participate in existing community events where they will provide dental health education and advocacy for improved oral health.
The DENTCOL project will also expand the Dental Office’s Healthy Smiles program in order to host two events and offer additional free treatments beyond screenings.
To date, the LECOM Erie Dental Offices have provided more than 70 charity care cases in which patients have paid less than half the cost of their treatments, saving those patients more than $100,000.
The LECOM School of Dental Medicine Erie Dental Offices opened in June 2015 and immediately began offering charity care to qualifying patients. Shortly thereafter, in August of the same year, the Dental Offices began participating in a number of different community outreach activities under the LECOM Dental Health Community Outreach Project.