ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA) has announced that Henry Schein, Inc. (Nasdaq :HSIC ), the largest provider of health care products and services to office-based practitioners, will donate dental equipment valued at $860,000 to students in the Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) pilot program. Students will use the equipment initially for hands-on clinical training in the program, which will produce new members of the dental team to help provide oral health care to people living in underserved communities. After training, the equipment will be used to provide services to patients. Henry Schein's donation is part of Henry Schein Cares, the company's global corporate social responsibility program which seeks to enhance access to health care for underserved populations around the world.
CDHC students come from the same communities in which they will work -- communities whose residents have little to no access to dental care. They will provide oral health guidance and specific clinical dental services such as dental screenings and fluoride treatments under the supervision of a dentist and in accordance with existing state laws. CDHCs will provide services in remote rural areas, urban areas and Native American communities, thus helping to eliminate the cultural, language and sociological barriers that might otherwise impede their effectiveness. CDHCs will also help connect patients to dentists who can provide treatment. The CDHC curriculum includes 12 months of online course work and in-person clinical training as well as a six-month internship.
"Henry Schein's support for the CDHC pilot project demonstrates the company's total commitment to helping more Americans attain and maintain good oral health," said ADA President Ronald L. Tankersley, D.D.S. "We are gratified that Henry Schein shares our hope that this new dental team member will have a meaningful impact on oral health in access to care."
CDHCs are based on the community health worker model, which has proven extremely successful in similar capacities in the medical system. CDHCs can be employed by Federally Qualified Health Clinics, the Indian Health Service and tribal clinics, state or county public health clinics or private practice dental clinics in underserved areas.
"In today's changing U.S. health care environment, community health centers will play a critical role in providing education and preventive care and in expanding access to dental and medical care for more patients," said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman and CEO of Henry Schein. "Our support of the ADA's Community Dental Health Coordinator program is an important new chapter in Henry Schein's long-term relationship with the ADA to increase access to oral health care for underserved communities across the United States."
The ADA's pilot program to train CDHCs is currently underway at three underserved sites —rural, urban and Native American. Each pilot program is under the direction of a major university. Temple University in Pennsylvania is training students to work in urban areas; the University of Oklahoma is training students to work in rural communities; and the University of California at Los Angeles in conjunction with Salish Kootenai College in Montana is training students to work in Native American communities. All of the educational institutions collaborate with Rio Salado College in Tempe, Ariz., to deliver the online and clinical components of the curriculum.
The first group of CDHCs completed training programs in Oklahoma and California on Sept. 26, and the second group is scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2011.
The ADA will recognize Henry Schein's contribution during the ADA annual session Oct. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla., during the opening session that begins at 8 a.m. Oct. 9 at the Orange County Convention Center. In addition, Henry Schein is slated to give a presentation at the ADA Press Luncheon that begins at noon Oct. 9 in the convention center's North Building, room N210D.
Henry Schein, www.henryschein.com, is a long-time supporter of the ADA's Give Kids A Smile program which provides education, preventive and restorative care to underserved children who do not have access to oral health care. Please visit ADA.org learn more about the ADA's CDHC pilot program.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit the Association's Web site at www.ada.org
SOURCE American Dental Association