$500,000 grant to help fund a dental clinic
A $500,000 grant from MVYouth to Island Healthcare (IHC) will cover the capital costs of building a dental clinic for the island, according to a press release. It is estimated that 50% of the people served by the clinic should be Island children.
According to the release, MVYouth was founded with a mission to support the community of Martha’s Vineyard by investing in its youth. MVYouth Expansion Grants provide funding to youth-serving organizations to carry out high-impact capital projects. MVYouth also hopes to increase charitable giving on Martha’s Vineyard, reviewing and approving organizations that have demonstrated excellence and encouraging others to generously support them as well, the statement said.
IHC is the only federally licensed health center on the island. The funds will be used to construct and equip a four-chair dental center near the Edgartown Triangle” to provide preventative dental care, basic oral health services and acute dental care to patients with financial needs who cannot otherwise access dental services”. The proposed dental center is part of a larger primary care expansion project undertaken by IHC to serve this population.
The total budget for the project, including building purchase, construction and equipment expenses, is $1,583,985, the statement said. Through two federal and state grants, IHC managed to acquire $584,122 for capital construction expenses. After receiving the $500,000 prize from MVYouth, the organization is seeking community investment for the final $500,000 needed to fully fund the project.
“Access to quality dental care is currently a critical and unmet need in our community. Normally, MVYouth waits to fund an investment project like this until the organization finds the last few dollars needed to complete the project, but we are now investing in the youth part of this project with high hopes that d “Other generous organizations and individuals will match our support to fund this vital community project,” Lindsey Scott, Executive Director of MVYouth, said in the statement.
No pediatric dentists are currently practicing on the island and existing dentists cannot take on new patients, the statement said. Martha’s Vineyard Hospital closed its clinic in 2020 for financial reasons.
Using census demographic and income data, IHC has identified more than 2,600 youth ages 0-25 whose families are income-eligible for Medicaid and Health Safety Net (HSN) assistance,” says the communicated. However, no Island dentist accepts reimbursement from these programs. Additionally, many other families whose income does not qualify for assistance are unable to afford private dental care or travel off-island for treatment.
IHC’s staffing plan currently includes the hiring of a supervising dental director, pediatric dental residents, dental residents and dental hygienists. Through a partnership with Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dentistry, IHC has access to experts who have advised them on their capital budget and operations. Boston University will also be instrumental in staffing the facility with rotating dental residents.
“We strongly support the possibility of developing clerkship opportunities for our dental students and dental residents at the new dental clinic. With more than three decades of experience placing postgraduate dental residents in specialty training and dental students in their final year of their program at community health centers across Massachusetts and nationwide, we have the infrastructure in place to seamlessly expand the program to Martha’s Vineyard. Michelle Henshaw DDS, MPH, associate dean of global health and population and Joseph Calabrese, DMD, associate dean of students wrote in a letter of support for the project.
Knowing the challenges of securing housing for rotating staff, IHC has included a housing allowance in its operating budget, the statement said.