The University of Texas Health San Antonio School of Dentistry has just secured a $5.7 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to deliver comprehensive oral health care services to nursing home patients in and around San Antonio. Suman Challa, B.D.S., MPH, an associate professor in the department of comprehensive dentistry, is the primary investigator on this three-year project.
While preserving and improving oral health is critical to general health, there are important linkages between the two that must be understood and understood to promote and sustain it, according to Dean Peter M. Loomer, D.D.S., Ph.D., at the School of Dentistry. “The low percentage of individuals who have dental care issues receiving treatment is linked to those who have dental issues needing the treatment the most. Due to many constraints, including access to information and accessibility to systems, patients are disadvantaged while trying to get oral health care. This funding helps to make up for that deficit.”
The dentists have installed state-of-the-art mobile dental offices at nursing homes, and treatment will be offered to the elderly in these institutions as well. In addition, the initiative will also entail delivering health promotion education to the facility’s residents and their caregivers by dentistry students, post-doctoral students, employees, and teachers.
Dr. Loomer appreciates Dr. Challa and his colleagues for the tremendous efforts they’re doing to serve this important demographic: elderly individuals who, unfortunately, sometimes get overlooked in South Texas. Dental students and post-doctoral learners within the school will also benefit from the program since it provides a chance for on-the-job learning.