WK Kellogg Foundation Expands Support for Dental Care for Vulnerable Youth

ADEA Minority Dental Faculty Development and Inclusion Programme to grow


The WK Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded a $100,000 grant to the American Dental Education Association Minority Dental Faculty Development and Inclusion (ADEA MDFDI) programme to continue diversity leadership training for allied dental professionals such as dental hygienists in an effort to address oral health disparities experienced by vulnerable children and their communities. The funding completes a two-year grant.

The ADEA MDFDI programme seeks to develop new and more diverse generations of allied dental health professionals as a unique strategy to meet the significant unmet need for dental care across the US, especially among children and adolescents.

“We know that patients from diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to seek healthcare from a minority provider,” said Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH, ADEA President and CEO. “That’s what this whole approach is about—ensuring these patients have somewhere to go for dental care that meets their needs.”

In addition, trends show that health professionals from underserved areas often return to those areas to practice. “This new funding from the Kellogg Foundation simultaneously allows teams of dental professionals to provide care to communities in need today and helps create a dental workforce better prepared for tomorrow’s growing and more diverse nation,” says Jeanne C. Sinkford, DDS, PhD, ADEA Senior Scholar in Residence.

Over 108 million Americans lack dental insurance and thus access to dental care—and children in underserved communities are disproportionately affected by this epidemic. Untreated dental caries (cavities) was more than twice as high for Hispanic children (26 per cent) and for non-Hispanic black adolescents ages 13 to 15 (25 per cent) compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents, respectively.

ADEA MDFDI partner schools, via more than 130 academic/community collaborations, will work under the programme to extend its efforts to geographic areas with new or no existing dental schools. These new partners will work hand-in-hand with dental and allied dental faculty to provide dental and preventive care to children and adolescents in underserved areas.