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Project Will Provide Improved Access To Dental Care For Underserved In CA

 

State Sen. Alex Padilla and Other Dignitaries Attend Demonstration of the Project

LOS ANGELES –  Low-income residents in the San Fernando Valley will receive improved access to dental care, thanks to a new telemedicine project created by the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

The groundbreaking, four-year pilot project will address the access-to-care crisis in California by connecting patients in need with critical dental services.  Known as the Virtual Dental Home, the project will give participating dentists a simple yet secure means to electronically review patient's dental records remotely with help from dental hygienists and dental assistants in underserved communities.  After the review of records, the dentist will be able to recommend a plan for addressing the patient's dental needs.

"This care-delivery model provides a much-needed community-based virtual dental home for the state's most vulnerable people," said the project's director, Dr. Paul Glassman, professor of dental practice at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.  "As a result, these patients in need will be able to conveniently access dental services in their own communities and remove some of the barriers to receiving care in a traditional dental office setting."

The California Dental Association Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, Verizon and MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), a nonprofit organization that provides services to the neediest residents of the San Fernando Valley, collaborated on the project.  The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, awarded a $100,000 grant to support the first year of the Virtual Dental Home at MEND's Pacoima facility, the project's Southern California site, and at another site in Northern California. 

State Sen. Alex Padilla said, "This collaboration will improve access to dental care in the San Fernando Valley.  I applaud the efforts of all who have committed to this partnership."

Tim McCallion, Verizon West region president, said, "The Virtual Dental Home is an example of how technology can innovate and improve the delivery of essential health care services in our society. Verizon is proud to partner with the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, the California Dental Association Foundation, the California Healthcare Foundation and other supporters to bring this important health care project to the communities that need it most."

Marianne Haver Hill, MEND president and CEO, said, "This telemedicine technology will allow us to connect more of our clients to needed dental care, even if a dentist is not immediately available on-site.  As the largest poverty-relief agency in the San Fernando Valley, MEND looks forward to a continued partnership with Verizon, the California Dental Association Foundation and the University of the Pacific to better serve our patients."

The Verizon Foundation supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

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Media Contact:

Jon Davies, Verizon, (805) 372-6969
Michele Flynn, CDA Foundation, (916) 554-5904



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