Partnership gives preschoolers access to dental care

NORWALK – The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District is teaming with the Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California to provide free oral health screenings, preventative treatment and education to students up to age 5. For the next four years, USC will partner with the District to ensure families have the tools to improve the overall oral health of children through the university’s Children’s Health and Maintenance Program (CHAMP).

“This is a great example of partnerships that bring needed services to our students,” said NLMUSD Interim Superintendent Ginger Shattuck. “Oral health is a major component of overall health.”

Along with the screenings, treatments and education, families who participate in the program will receive assistance from USC School of Social Work interns, who will help them access dental care benefits, find dentists and navigate other barriers that might impede families from receiving routine dental care.

The dental program is made possible through a $1 million grant awarded to USC by First 5 LA as part of an effort to accustom children to going to the dentist regularly to prevent diseases, rather than repairing damage already done.

The School of Dentistry will work with the District to plan and administer educational and referral programs for the students; on-site outreach dental services will rotate through campuses, including preschool sites: Ramona Preschool in Norwalk, Gallatin Center in Downey, Paddison School in Norwalk and preschool programs at Sanchez, Huerta, Chavez and D.D. Johnston elementary schools.

Even as preschoolers in the program benefit by receiving oral health care and education, students in Ostrow School of Dentistry will receive experience treating young children and training in working with social workers, who will also gain hands-on experience in health care case management.

“This partnership has so many benefits for so many people,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Margarita Rios. “By working together with USC, our District families will have a better understanding of oral health care, while helping dentistry and social work students prepare for their futures.”



Published: Nov. 6, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 30