Gebbie Foundation funds rural mobile dental clinic for kids
CHILDREN IN Chautauqua County who may never have seen a dentist will get regular checkups in a mobile dental clinic made possible by a $160,000 grant to the UB School of Dental Medicine from the Gebbie Foundation Inc., in conjunction with the foundation's early childhood "Success by 6" initiative.
The 39-foot custom-made van with four fully equipped dental exam rooms will begin circulating throughout the county this summer, stopping for 4-6 weeks at targeted preschools, Head Start Programs and locations recommended by "Success by 6." The rotation schedule will allow children to be seen twice a year, providing continuity of care.
Louis J. Goldberg, dean of the UB dental school, said the school greatly appreciates the Gebbie Foundation's generosity. He reaffirmed the dental school's commitment to public service, particularly to underserved and unserved pediatric populations.
"Research has shown that dietary deficiencies during the developmental stage can result in congenital malformations of the hard tooth structures," Goldberg said.
"These deficiencies contribute to gingival changes and periodontal problems as the children grow," he continued. "This project will have a significant impact on the birth-to-six-year population, and will further the dental school's commitment to disease prevention."
Dianne Eisenhardt, director of the Gebbie Foundation's "Success by 6" program, said the goal of its Dental Access Task Team-to improve access to dental services in Chautauqua County-matched the proposed program of the dental school.
The mobile clinic will be staffed by UB dental school faculty, UB hygienists and dental assistants, and UB dental students who will intern on the van. "Success by 6" participants and children from preschool age through third grade will be eligible for dental care through the mobile clinic. The UB dental school expects to serve 3,000 Medicaid-eligible children the first year, increasing to a maximum of 5,000 by the third year of operation.
In addition to providing primary pediatric dental care, clinic staff will offer a prenatal nutrition and dental education program to pregnant women, coordinated by Paul Creighton, UB clinical assistant professor of pediatric dentistry.
The Gebbie Foundation is a private foundation established in 1964 with funds provided by the estates of two sisters, Marion Bertram Gebbie and Geraldine Gebbie Bellinger, in memory of their parents, Frank and Harriet Louise Gebbie. The foundation supports the arts, educational institutions, hospitals, historical societies, libraries, human services and specified medical research in the Jamestown/Chautauqua County region.