CDM Is Awarded Cabrini Foundation Grant for Education and Prevention

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has awarded the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine a $400,000 grant to embed an oral health education and prevention component into its service model for patients receiving care in its dental clinics and community care settings. The grant represents an expansion of the collaboration between CDM and the Foundation, which seeks to improve the health of vulnerable New Yorkers. The Mother Cabrini Foundation has generously underwritten one of CDM’s mobile health vans as well as providing past support for a program to bridge disparities in vulnerable populations and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The new grant will fund education and prevention work that will build upon the foundation that CDM has already established and will focus on depression screenings, caries risk assessment, expansion of the existing tobacco cessation interventions, and nutritional assessments. Providers will receive assistance synthesizing this information to better understand the patients’ overall risk profiles as a predictor of overall well-being.

Mother Cabrini Health Foundation

Dr. Biana Roykh, associate professor of dental medicine at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the College of Dental Medicine, noted that payer policies, including those of Medicaid, perpetuate a care model that remains procedure based. There is no meaningful reimbursement for education and prevention activities, which limits clinicians’ ability to perform preventive care. Roykh said that the grant will enable clinicians to address underlying issues and it will have an immediate impact on patient care.

“We are so grateful for the Mother Cabrini Foundation’s generous support for oral health disease management and prevention among vulnerable populations,” she said. “This grant will help CDM to strengthen and extend existing resources and give us tools to focus on prevention. It will go a long way in helping our patients and training students on best practices that they will be able to carry throughout their careers. This is a major win for dental education and public health.”

The grant has three goals. The first is to build an oral healthcare workforce to serve vulnerable populations in the community by enhancing the curriculum to reinforce service-learning, cultural sensitivity training, and scholarship; by developing training guides for the faculty who supervise students and other staff who have a role in education and prevention sessions; and by training two additional Community Dental Healthcare Coordinators, who will focus on oral health education and prevention activities with patients receiving care in the clinics.  The second goal is to redesign patient workflow and process to allow time for oral health education and consultation on preventative methods for optimal oral healthcare. And the third is to track and report on oral health and other care gaps, such as depression screening, tobacco cessation,coordination of care with the primary doctor, understanding of special needs, and social determinants of health, using intervention and prevention activities.