The ADEAGies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Dental Education Association, has selected Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine (CDM) for a 2014 William J. Gies Award, for outstanding achievement by an academic dental institution in support of dental education. The award recognizes CDM's Community DentCare program, which provides low- or no-cost dental care to children, adults, and seniors in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
"The relationships CDM has developed with the residents of the Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem communities of Northern Manhattan, and of the Bronx, are mutually rewarding and central to the College's mission," said Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, dean of CDM. "Community DentCare is a tremendous opportunity for our faculty members to share their expertise not only with our neighbors, but with our students. We are proud of this work and honored to be recognized by the ADEAGies Foundation."
The William J. Gies Awards, named after William J. Gies, PhD, a cofounder of CDM, honors individuals and organizations exemplifying dedication to the highest standards of vision, innovation, and achievement in dental education, research, and leadership. In 1926, Dr. Gies published a report, "Dental Education in the United States and Canada," which is credited with establishing dentistry as an essential component of academic health sciences education.
"Given the history behind the Gies Awards, it is particularly gratifying to receive this recognition from the ADEAGies Foundation," said Stephen Marshall, DDS, MPH, associate professor of dental medicine at CUMC and senior associate dean for extramural programs at CDM. "Through our public school-based clinics and Mobile Dental Center, Community DentCare enables us to extend oral health care to thousands of individuals every year who otherwise might not have access to care."
Community DentCare involves a network of partnerships and collaborations with schools and community health clinics to provide Northern Manhattan's low-income, underserved, and uninsured residents with access to comprehensive, affordable, and quality dental care. It has provided more than 150,000 patient care visits since its inception in 1996.
The impetus for starting the program was a Washington Heights school principal, who reached out to CDM seeking dental care for the numerous children at her school who were unable to attend class because of toothaches.
Community DentCare has established eight school-based dental clinics, and the program's Mobile Dental Center van visits more than 80 locations throughout Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, offering comprehensive dental care to children ages 3-5.
The program also provides free screenings, treatment, and education to hundreds of Northern Manhattan children each year as part of the American Dental Association's national Give Kids a Smile Day.
Community DentCare was established by CDM, the Harlem Hospital Dental Services, and other community groups.