The National Dental Association has embarked on a national, community-based, grassroots health initiative. It replicates and takes to scale key features of the Deamonte Driver Dental Project (DDDP), the award winning initiative based in Prince Georges County, MD and the Washington, DC metro area, that helped Maryland move from dead last in oral health care to number ONE in the country. NDA-HEALTH NOW will expand the areas of care to include in addition to dental care, medical and vision care; and will expand the target populations to include not only underserved children, but also the elderly and racial and ethnic minorities. The program launched in Chicago and Dallas in 2013, and will launch in New Orleans and New York in 2014.
The expansion project features plans for “mixed-use” mobile health units equipped for medical screening, vision screening, and dental services; but is also designed for implementation with or without mobile units. The new initiative will provide resources and services to underserved communities, and will work to 1) increase health care access; 2) eliminate health disparities; 3) increase health literacy; and 4) promote prevention. It will also feature: inter-professional workforce teams (including physicians, optometrists, nurses and physician’s assistants); partnerships with community organizations, academic institutions, faith based entities; and affiliations with community health centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, schools and senior citizen communities.
NDA members constitute a massive network of providers and volunteers across America who have been the backbone of programs that strive to reach millions of underserved children and their families who do not have access to health care. The organization is dedicated to supporting their members to remain in communities where they are needed most; and to increasing access to health care. The NDA-HEALTH NOW Project will leverage the time and efforts of dental, medical, and vision care practitioners so that maximum benefit is received by patients in underserved and vulnerable communities.
In addition, key elements will include: 1) establishing referral networks for Medicaid and Medicare patients; 2) compiling resource directories of providers and pharmacies; and 3) developing and disseminating culturally and linguistically appropriate integrated medical-dental messages. Collaborations will be cultivated with other health professional groups, and multi-cultural organizations.
For more information contact:
Robert S. Johns, NDA Executive Director
Hazel J. Harper, DDS, MPH, National Project Director