The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded member organizations of Virginia Community Healthcare Association nearly $1.6 million to increase access to integrated oral health care services and improve oral health outcomes for Health Center Program patients.  The centers, located in both Virginia and West Virginia, include Eastern Shore Rural Health System (Onancock, VA), New Horizons Healthcare (Roanoke, VA), Neighborhood Health (Alexandria, VA), Piedmont Access to Health Services (Danville, VA), and Monroe Health Center (Union, WV).

Nationwide, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced nearly $156 million in funding to support 420 health centers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  With these awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), health centers across the country will increase their oral health service capacity by hiring approximately 1,600 new dentists, dental hygienists, assistants, aides, and technicians to treat nearly 785,000 new patients.

Oral health problems can be a sign of illness elsewhere in the body.  Additionally, lack of access to preventive and routine dental care for underserved populations can result in dental conditions requiring more costly emergency dental treatment.

“Oral health is an important part of our overall physical health and well-being,” said Secretary Burwell.  “The funding we are awarding will reduce barriers to quality dental care for hundreds of thousands of Americans by bringing new oral health providers to health centers across the country.”

Congratulations to our member health centers!  To view all awardees, click here.