One Community Health (OCH) Receives $70,000 Grant From Oregon Community Foundation

Funding will support the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative, giving healthier smiles to children in Hood River and Wasco Counties.

HOOD RIVER, Ore., March 9, 2016, 2016 — The Oregon Community Foundation has just awarded One Community Health a grant for $70,000. Thanks to this generous grant gift, school children throughout Hood River and Wasco Counties have something new to smile about—a greater chance for better dental health.

Part of an effort to support a local version of the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative (OCDHI), the grant is being awarded to One Community Health (OCH), a nonprofit, federally qualified health center with locations in Hood River and The Dalles. The funding will enable the rollout of a comprehensive oral health plan in Hood River and Wasco Counties. A key component of the plan is a school-based dental health program for underserved elementary and middle school children.

“We’re thrilled about receiving the grant,” says Elizabeth Aughney, DDS, clinical integration director of OCH. “With this funding, One Community Health can spearhead a local effort to carry out the statewide (OCDHI) initiative funded by Oregon Community Foundation and others sources. The funding will improve resources and access to health care for kids in our community and coordination among the program’s partners.”

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of school-aged children. Nationally, children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely than other children to miss school. Meanwhile, research shows students with toothaches are almost four times more likely to have a low grade-point average than peers who did not report tooth pain.

“Locally, too many children are not receiving the right dental care at the right times in their development,” says Aughney. “Throughout Hood River and Wasco Counties, more than 30 percent of eligible first and second graders over the past four years did not participate in the Oregon Health Authority’s sealant program, and there is no school-based sealant program for middle schoolers in Hood River County. We also lack sufficient prevention education for students and families, including new mothers. Consequently, there’s a high incidence of tooth decay, particularly in underserved segments of our community, including low-income, Latino and uninsured populations.”

Among a number of things, the grant gives the green light for OCH to:

  • hire a program coordinator;
  • implement and help coordinate new programs in Wasco and Hood River Counties to ensure more youth receive the sealants they need;
  • design and implement educational components for children, new and expectant mothers, and the community at large;

    • sustain the plan’s current steering committee, representing dentistry, education, public health, and Dental Care Organizations/Coordinated Care Organizations to oversee the program; and

    • create and improve upon school-based dental programs for elementary and middle school students, by:

  • providing students with oral hygiene education, screenings, risk assessments and dental supply kits.
  • increasing participation rates in the existing Oregon Health Authority’s sealant program for first and second graders.
  • providing a sealant program for sixth and seventh graders.
  • identifying participating schools, getting letters of commitment from principals who are excited about this initiative and what it means for student quality of life.

“One Community Health has worked with a number of partners to collaborate on this plan, and we’re all very grateful for the funding,” says Aughney, recognizing key collaborators, including the Oregon Community Foundation and the steering committee that helped review the needs and shape the program with incredible passion and commitment. “It will now be possible to reach our local children better and get them the help they need.”

About One Community Health

One Community Health (OCH) is a nonprofit, federally qualified health center with clinics in The Dalles and Hood River, Ore. Formerly known as La Clínica del Cariño Family Health Care Center, Inc., it was founded in 1986 and, today, has evolved into an official Patient-Centered Primary Care Home. Today, OCH provides services to over 10,000 patients. In addition, OCH excels in providing proactive educational programs and support that sustain its integrated approach to health and wellbeing. Dedicated to advancing health and social justice for all its community members, OCH serves patients from the Mid-Columbia River Gorge Region: Wasco, Hood River, Klickitat and Skamania Counties. For more information, click here or visit: http://www.onecommunityhealth.org/.

 

Media Contact

Katie Roberts
Communications Director, One Community Health
(303) 709-2912 • kroberts@onecommunityhealth.org

 

Katie Roberts