The grant program attracted the interest of 19 worthwhile organizations actively working to expand access to oral health care services to needy individuals around the state. This year $75,000 in grant monies were awarded to ten organizations for projects designed to provide access to dental care and increase oral health awareness and education.
The ISDSF distributes Community Grants each year in various amounts to applicants residing in the State of Illinois and to such projects that benefit the people of Illinois. Priority is given to proposals that have measurable improvement goals, show strong community support for the project, and are innovative.
Applications were evaluated according to the following guidelines:
• Congruence of the project to the mission of the ISDS Foundation
• Potential for, or history of, continuous program operations
• An increase in oral health awareness among those reached by the project
• Potential impact on a target community or audience
• Potential enhanced efficiency by which oral health services are delivered
After careful review, the grant review committee selected the following winners:
Community Health Care Clinic – Normal: $2,000
They will purchase two (2) intra-oral cameras to improve patient education and student engagement. Many of their patients have had little to no dental care in their lifetime, have minimal knowledge about dental care, and many don’t speak English. Because of their income, life circumstances, and lack of adequate coverage, most of our patients have gone years, sometimes decades, without access to dental care. Without appropriate dental care, many patients have lost some or all their teeth over time. These patients have lost the ability to eat some foods, especially healthy solids like produce and lean meat. Many have also lost confidence in their ability to speak or smile. Their self-esteem and confidence in face-to-face interactions is also deeply affected, impacting their ability to get a job or advance in their current position.
The ability to show them color pictures of their mouth will illustrate the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It will allow them to see the problems that must be addressed, teach them about better oral health, and monitor their progress at future appointments.
Dental Lifeline Network $7,500
The monies will help us with our objective to treat 530 Illinoisans with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile and unable to afford or otherwise access dental treatment. These Illinoisans will receive $1.4 million in comprehensive pro bono dental care that restores our patients' dental health, allowing them to live pain-free, eat a regular, balanced diet, and have a better quality of life. The DDS program increases access to dental care for vulnerable residents of Illinois. It aligns with the ISDSF’s mission to enhance health and its goal of increasing access to dental care for low-income families and infirm, elderly residents of Illinois.
ICN Shifa Clinic $9,000
The grant will help purchase a new chair in which we perform dental procedures. The current one was donated to us by a dentist in our community. We reupholstered the chair to improve its esthetics; however, it is starting to malfunction due to its age. The chair often gets stuck in the supine position while the patient is lying down. After the procedure, we cannot fully sit our patients in the chair. For elderly patients, it is difficult to assist them out of the chair. We also have called in repair workers several times this year to help with water leaking from the chair. Replacing small parts to make the suction more efficient. Starting with one fresh chair would be ideal for our clinic in the upcoming years.
Their work improves access to care and addresses oral health inequities for under-resourced populations. They have a very international base of patients. Their patients come from all over the world. Relief organizations refer most. They need dental care and cannot afford it. The services offered by our clinic include exams, x-rays, prophy cleanings, deep cleanings, fillings, extractions, and oral hygiene instructions. We work on adults as well as children. There are no age limits, and our clinic does not discriminate on race, religion, or political affiliation. On average, the clinic sees ten patients every Sunday and estimates treating 400 patients yearly.
Infant Welfare Society of Chicago: $3,000
In alignment with Illinois State Dental Society Foundation, IWS Family Health strives to improve the oral health of children and families in low-income communities by facilitating access to preventive, restorative, and emergency dental care and oral health education. The dental home has seven operatories and an enclosed operatory for children with disabilities or special needs. The bicultural and bilingual staff consists of two dentists, an orthodontist, a dental hygienist, and four expanded-duty dental assistants. Every patient receives linguistically competent and culturally sensitive oral health education.
Loyola Street Medicine-Dental Division: $9,600
Loyola aims to increase access to emergency dental care for the local vulnerable and disadvantaged homeless population who currently lack access. The program aims to increase the number of homeless individuals treated in Loyola's clinic from 0 to 2-3 patients monthly. Engage patients with emergent, primary and preventive dental care needs, link patients to local resources, and provide follow-up care with the ultimate goal of connecting patients to a permanent dental home. One of the most important goals is to create a valuable interdisciplinary, experiential learning, and community engagement opportunity for students and faculty across all disciplines to engage through the practice of Street Medicine.
Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine: $10,000
The university plans to increase the patient care provided at the SIU SDM Special Needs Patient Clinic. The grant will also provide for purchasing a Nomad unit, including several sensory supplies to enhance our dental care at the SIU SDM Special Needs Patient Care Clinic. The grant will enhance their ability to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for their patients, especially those on the autism spectrum and those who face mobility challenges. They will provide a dental home for 150 or more patients with special dental care needs, allowing them to receive dental care comfortably and confidently in a safe and reliable setting.
Swedish Hospital Foundation: $5,000
Swedish Hospital’s Dental Clinic and Restoring Smiles Program was established in 2017 to help uninsured and low-income patients who came to the Emergency Department for dental relief. Restoring Smiles will provide free, life-changing dental services for low-income individuals with no access to services, patients who have experienced injuries requiring emergency dental care, and survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault who have dental-related injuries and/or neglect.
The ARK: $10,000
The Ark is a non-profit, community-funded agency providing vital human services for low-income individuals and families. Programs are designed to meet the unique cultural needs of the local Jewish community, but no one in need is turned away. Treatment is provided by The Ark's staff dentist, hygienist, dental assistant, and volunteer dentists. The funding will help them obtain dental supplies and appliances.
Tri-County Health Partnership $10,000
The monies awarded will support the partnership’s free and charitable dental and oral healthcare programs for uninsured and low-income patients. More than one-third of adults in Kane County had not visited a dentist in 2020. Their clinic is one of only nine free and charitable clinics statewide to offer critical dental and oral health services for patients otherwise unable to access them due to lacking insurance, public benefits, or the means to pay for care. They serve predominantly minority and the low-income population and contributes to making dental care accessible and equitable to improve oral health in Kane County.
UIC, Chicago College of Dentistry: $8,900
This is the first dental college in the nation to have an entirely student-run dental clinic. Dental care is provided to the refugee population from thirty different countries. The student-run clinic operates three Saturdays a month from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. Dental faculty from the UIC College of Dentistry supervises the students. The grant will purchase supplies for the clinic and the much-needed services for the most vulnerable population.