Mich. gets $1.3M for oral health programs

Michigan has received a three-year $1.3 million federal grant for oral health programs.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Oral Health Program was awarded the grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The money will be used to expand and enrich the oral health workforce through programs in Mecosta and Genesee counties, according to the department.

Only 12 dentists in Mecosta County take Medicaid patients, while Genesee County saw a 50% increase in community need from 2010 to 2011, the MDCH noted.

The grant will be used to fight tooth decay in Mecosta County through the expansion of SEAL Michigan, a school-based dental sealant program. In Genessee County, funding will support efforts to measure the operational effectiveness of an interprofessional team training program for health professionals and students.

To implement these initiatives, the MDCH will partner with Ferris State University, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and Medical School, the Michigan Health Council, and the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan.

The SEAL Michigan program establishes practice settings in elementary and middle schools for dental hygiene students to screen, assess, and educate youth on the importance of oral health, while also providing dental sealants. The University of Michigan interprofessional goal is to develop a multiprofessional healthcare team model. This program will also measure team member perceptions, patient quality of life/care, and clinical/financial efficiency, according to the MDCH.

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