Across the country, a total of USD$82,000 in grant funding will be awarded to 13 worthy volunteer groups during Dental Health Week 2014.
Now in its fourth year, the Wrigley Company Foundation and Australian Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) Community Service Grants continue to make a difference to high risk, marginalised groups such as the elderly, disabled, homeless, Indigenous communities and disadvantaged children. The grants provide much needed funds to help purchase supplies, equipment and establish oral health education and free treatments to commence or expand existing community programs.
This year also saw an increase in grant applications from public health organisations, which is possibly a reflection that, although most states have recorded a decrease in public waiting lists, there is still a strong need for additional public sector funding.
“The ADAF congratulates this year’s successful grantees. A recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report confirmed dental decay is a chronic disease. It’s the volunteer groups of dentists and other dental professionals who provide Australia’s most deprived communities with free oral health treatments and education that need to be applauded. These volunteer initiatives are helping first-hand to curb the growing rate of dental decay and disease with at-risk groups,” said David Owen, chairman advisory board, Australian Dental Association Foundation.
Andrew Leakey, general manager, Wrigley Pacific, said: “The grants and their hard working volunteers, help bridge the gap in access to oral care services and dental education throughout Australia. Wrigley is committed to improving the state of dental health in Australia and around the globe. The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program operates in 47 countries worldwide to engage dentists on the benefits of sugar free gum as part of good oral healthcare routine and initiatives such as the Community Service Grants are dedicated to supporting the communities where oral care support is needed the most.”
The 2014 Community Service Grant Recipients:
PRINCIPLES IN ACTION GRANT (US$10,000 X 1)
– Women’s and Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide/Oncology App (SA): This grant will help develop an app to provide additional home oral care to approximately 70 children aged 0-18 years who are undergoing oncology therapy. The oral health support app will be distributed to paediatric patients and their families at the time of their pre-treatment dental consult to educate them on the dangers of oral complications in children undergoing oncology therapy.
DENTAL STUDENT GRANTS (US$6,000 X 3)
– University of Melbourne/The D3G Group/Student Power (VIC): Continuing the funding from their 2013 community service grant, this year’s funds will help educate students and the community to better understand and care for children with developmental dental defects (D3) and the under-recognised connection with early childhood tooth decay. The grant will be used to launch the next phase of educational materials including storybooks, referral cards and new website content for at-risk children.
– Griffith University / Hope4Health Cherbourg Volunteer Dental Clinic (QLD): Continuing the funding from their 2013 community service grant, this year’s funds will support students from Griffith University in providing services, oral care education and dental supplies to remote Aboriginal townships in Queensland where the nearest Queensland health dental clinical is an hour away. The aim is for final year dental students to help these communities transition from emergency intervention to preventative dental health.
– The University of Newcastle / Outreach Oral Health- the Van experience (NSW): The University of Newcastle’s Oral Health Van provides outreach services to residents of the central coast. The van covers areas that are home to low socioeconomic populations including Indigenous communities and the homeless. Final year Bachelor of Oral Health students are rostered to the van each week. Patients are allocated appointments through the oral health clinic at the Ourimbah Campus of the University of Newcastle.
DENTIST PRACTIONER GRANTS (US$6,000 X 9)
– Little Happy Tooth Co. (SA): Continued support from their 2013 community service grant to service a website for parents, patients and dental professionals which provides information on oral health, oral care, and making dental visits easier for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Additionally the grant covers the “Making Things Easier” Workshop presentation and direct clinical service to improve oral hygiene practice and dental visit experience for children with ASD.
– Kimberley Dental Team ‘KDT’ (WA): Continued support from a 2013 community service grant, this year’s grant will help provide dental care for Indigenous children and their families in the Kimberley region. Recent KDT screening found that up to 75 per cent of primary school children in East Kimberley Aboriginal communities were experiencing widespread decay requiring urgent treatment. Follow-up screenings post KDT’s 2013 annual visits, delivering free dental treatment through their mobile dental truck, found this rate to have dropped significantly to 35%.
– Cerebral Palsy Alliance (NSW): This year’s grant funds, which continue 2012 and 2013 community service grant funding, will support the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s specialised dental clinic which helps more than 400 people living with cerebral palsy every year. The grant will be used to purchase a portable digital X-ray system for use in the general anaesthetics clinic run by the CPA Dental Clinic at Mona Vale Hospital and Allambie Heights Dental Clinic.
– Carevan Foundation / Sun Smiles Project (NSW): Continued support from a 2013 community service grant, the funds will continue the Sun Smiles program provided jointly by the Carevan Foundation and Charles Sturt University in Albury. The program’s goal is to improve oral hygiene skills and access to preventative dental care for disadvantaged, rural primary school children in the Lavington region to enable future improvement in their oral health.
– North Richmond Community Health/Oral Health in Scope (VIC): North Richmond Community Health’s (NRCH) Oral Health Program will partner with Scope Victoria to provide in-home oral health assessments and education to people with disabilities, as well as an oral health workshop for both disability support and oral health practitioners.
– Queensland Health Gold Coast Oral Health Services “Precious Children, Precious Smiles” (QLD) : Supporting the Gold Coast Oral Health pilot project to provide dental care to 100 disadvantaged children aged 0-3 living on the Gold Coast. The project offers customised oral health education and prevention to be reinforced by a team of oral health therapists, dental therapists and dental assistants.
– Darling Downs Hospital and Health Services/Supporting Strong Smiles (QLD): Supporting Strong Smiles is an initiative of the Toowoomba Oral Health Service in collaboration with Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement. The program will be piloted at Harlaxton Primary School to address poor oral health via the classroom. In 2013 the School had an enrolment of 161 children, of which, 51% were Indigenous Australians.
– Dental Outreach/Senior Smiles (SA): Continued support from a 2013 community service grant, this year for their Senior Smiles program to provide dental screening and treatment to South Australian nursing home residents via a mobile dental van. Services are provided predominantly in remote and rural locations to treat both low and high care nursing home residents, the disabled and seriously ill.
– WestCare Clinic, National Dental Foundation (SA): The grant will be used to support the National Dental Foundation and the School of Dentistry (University of Adelaide) to set up an additional Community Outreach Dental Clinic at WestCare in Adelaide’s CBD. The Clinic services the homeless and those in desperate need, through both oral health education and treatments.