The University of Florida College of Dentistry is the recipient of $1.3 million in federal grants to expand training of dentists to care for low-income and minority groups. The three-year grants, awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, will support expansion of residency programs to train more dentists in pediatric dentistry, community-based primary dental care, and public dental health.
“Access to care is a serious problem in this state and, indeed, in this country,” said Frank Catalanotto, D.M.D., Professor of Pediatric Dentistry, program director for the pediatric training grant, and ADEA President-Elect. “Poor whites and racial and ethnic minorities are the patient segments of the U.S. population suffering from a highly disproportionate share of dental disease, and they face significant barriers to receiving dental care.”
In Florida, nearly 80 percent of low-income residents do not have access to oral health care because they have no insurance and cannot afford treatment or because no dentists are available in their communities. “The purpose of the grants is to increase services in underserved communities,” said Nereyda Clark, D.M.D., Associate Dean for Extramural Programs and program director for the community-based primary dental care training grant. “The funding factors for our HRSA grant proposals are that the services and clinics should be located in federally designated manpower shortage areas, where there are disadvantaged neighborhoods and no dentists.”
Funds will be directed toward expanded services and training in many programs and clinics. “This grant will fund the resident stipends, equipment purchases, and clinic renovations,” said Dr. Catalanotto.