September 18, 2019
Northern California residents with developmental disabilities and special needs will benefit greatly from a new grant recently awarded to the Special Care Clinic and Hospital Dentistry Program at University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.
The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation awarded a $100,000 Access to Care grant that will fund patient care, outreach, provider training and supplies.
“Patients with special needs are living longer, and often have complex medical conditions that complicate the availability of care options,” said Dr. Paul Subar, chair of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences and director of the Special Care Clinic and Hospital Dentistry Program.
“Right now, the population of patients with special needs is increasing faster than the number of clinicians who have the experience and knowledge to provide treatment and prevention services. This grant will help us expand the number of patients we care for and will help train the next generation of healthcare providers to serve these patients.”
The funding will help the Dugoni School reach upcoming objectives that include handling over 4,400 patient visits for people with special needs; providing at least 800 caregivers with oral health prevention education to help lower caries and periodontal disease for patients with special needs; reaching patients and their caretakers through outreach and education events; and educating local dentists through a symposium on delivering oral healthcare to this patient population.
Funds from the grant will also help the Dugoni School provide rigorous education and experiential learning opportunities to dental students, residents and medical students.
As the only program of its kind in Northern California, the Dugoni School’s Special Care Clinic has an extensive waiting list. Patients come to the clinic from throughout California, including as far south as San Luis Obispo and up to the California/Oregon border, as well as from western Nevada and southern Oregon.
For those patients whose medical and/or psychosocial conditions warrant general anesthesia, the Dugoni School’s Hospital Dentistry Program provides hospital dental services through California Pacific Medical Center.
“Patients with disabilities who do not receive adequate care are at risk for infection and can end up in emergency rooms, which results in rising healthcare costs,” said Dr. Subar, who emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of this population.
Most of the patients of the Special Care Clinic live at home with family and/or caregivers, in community care facilities or in independent living arrangements. They have moderate to severe conditions across four broad categories: cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, genetic abnormalities, and seizure disorder.
The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental. It provides funding and support to advance research, education and access to dental care across a 15-state service area plus the District of Columbia. Learn more about its philanthropic initiatives.