SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 14, 2014) – Children from low-income families who receive care at the Ricardo Salinas Pediatric Dental Clinic on San Antonio’s West Side will benefit from a five-year, $375,000 Access to Care Grant from Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children. The grant was awarded to the School of Dentistry at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, which provides the dental care at the clinic.
“We are grateful to Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children for this grant that will allow us to offer comprehensive dental care to thousands of children,” said Kevin Donly, D.D.S., M.S., professor and chair of developmental dentistry in the School of Dentistry. Dental students, residents and faculty members from the School of Dentistry provide the dental care at the clinic.
“This grant will help us increase care from 5,100 to nearly 6,000 children a year. Because we offer comprehensive care ― prevention, emergency, restorative and sedation care ― we offer a safety net and dental home for these children,” he said.
The clinic is the only pediatric dental clinic in San Antonio providing comprehensive dental care to children whose families cannot afford it.
“Children living at poverty levels are twice as likely as other children to suffer tooth decay and oral health problems,” said HSHC President Beverly A. Largent, D.M.D., a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky. “It’s unfortunate that tooth decay is on the rise among all children, but it has an even greater domino effect on the economically disadvantaged, causing pain, malnutrition from inability to eat, behavior problems and poor school performance.”
One of two organizations nationally to receive HSHC $375,000 Access to Care Grants in 2014, the Salinas Clinic shares space with a pediatric health clinic through an agreement with the city of San Antonio. The connection to a pediatric clinic was an attractive feature to HSHC.
“Oral health is a major component of overall health,” Largent said. “The Salinas team has demonstrated an ability to integrate dental care with overall health care that can be an example for the rest of the country.”
Dr. Donly said the Salinas Clinic treats the whole child. “There are days when we’ll invite parents waiting for pediatrician appointments to bring their children to the dental clinic for oral examinations,” he said. “It’s a great way to reinforce the overall health message to parents.”
The clinic, located at 630 S. General McMullen Drive, was established in 2003 through a partnership between the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the School of Dentistry. Services provided there for fiscal year 2012-2013 have an estimated value of more than $1.4 million, based on Medicaid payment rates.
Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC) supports community-based initiatives nationwide providing Dental Homes to children from families who cannot afford dental care. Founded in 1987, HSHC is the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Since 2010, HSHC has released more than $1.8 million in support of Access to Care initiatives, helping more than 118,000 children in 18 states. HSHC will award more than $1 million annually in grants supporting dentist-led efforts in offering care to underserved children. For more information visit http://www.aapd.org/foundation.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.