Ky. gets $200K in grants to help kids' dental health

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced two rounds of federal grant funding totaling more than $200,000 that will allow 24 counties to create community coalitions aimed at improving dental health among children throughout eastern Kentucky and other areas of the state.

The awards are part of a three-year initiative Beshear announced in fall 2009 with a goal of improving quality and access to dental care across the region, using $1.6 million in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The other major component of the initiative involves developing specialized training for dentists in pediatric techniques and providing training to increase the number of dental providers who treat children.

The first series of grants being awarded through the ARC and the Kentucky Oral Health Program in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will provide $10,000 in start-up funding for oral health community coalitions in the following ARC-designated distressed counties: Estill, Floyd, Hart, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Magoffin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Robertson, and Whitley.

The second series of grant awards is funded through HRSA's Targeted State MCH Oral Health Services Systems (TOHSS) program, which supports the state's capacity to expand preventive and restorative oral health service programs for Medicaid and KCHIP eligible children, as well as other underserved children and families. The following grantees will receive $10,000 of TOHSS seed funding: Boyd, Franklin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Logan, Madison, Marshall, Pike, and Woodford counties, as well as the Madisonville area and the Purchase District Health Department.

The ultimate goals of both grants are to ensure access to needed dental treatment and to begin developing the partnerships needed to help ensure that dental providers and services are available.

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