(Jan. 4, 2012) "” In December, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation approved 11 grants for a total of $1,790,000. The Foundation's focus is on improving access to oral health for people living in Minnesota, with special attention to increasing access among underserved persons, groups and communities as well as ideas and programs that provide long-term, sustainable solutions.
One highlight of the recent grants is $300,000 for the Minnesota Department of Health's "Minnesota Oral Health Surveillance System." With grant funding, the Minnesota Department of Health will create a consolidated easy to use data source that contains a myriad of Minnesota oral health indictors for program planners, managers, funders, policy makers, students, government agencies, and dental and other health professionals and communities. This "one-stop data shop" will give Minnesota's oral health community the capacity to make strategic decisions based on data, monitor the state's progress in meeting its oral health outcomes, and effectively use data to improve access to oral health services.
Another highlight of the December grants is the approval of $500,000 for a special initiative to expand Minnesota's school-based sealant programs to reduce dental disease for children. The Foundation will invite proposals to create and/or expand sealant programs in underserved areas throughout Minnesota. Programs will incorporate emerging best practices for serving children in school or other community-based settings. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation will not only help increase the number of children utilizing these effective preventive care services, but it will provide the support and leadership needed to develop effective, lasting programs.