The UCLA School of Dentistry has received a $9 million grant aimed at increasing access to dental care for Los Angeles children from birth to age 5. First 5 LA,a child advocacy and grant-making organization, awarded the funding toUCLA in response to what it sees as an urgent need for improved oralhealth care for Latino and African American children who are athigh-risk for early dental disease.

UCLA has partnered with the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, theCommunity Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, Safety NetSolutions, and the Sesame Workshop as part of the initiative.

This group of organizations will work with 10 to 12 community clinicsin the Greater Los Angeles area to establish a “dental home” model ofcare for young children. According to an announcement from theuniversity, services will be delivered in a continuously accessible andfamily-centered way by licensed dentists and other health careproviders.

The major objectives of the initiative, called the First 5 LA 21stCentury Community Dental Homes Project, will be to deliver qualitydental care to young children, to increase parents’ and child careproviders’ awareness of the importance of oral health care for preschoolchildren, and to develop a sustainable community “dental home” model ofcare for these children.

“As a prototype for community-based systems of oral health care, thisproject promises to bring about preventative and lasting improvementsin oral health, not only in the Los Angeles community but eventually atnational and global scales as well,” said No-Hee Park, DMD, PhD, dean ofthe UCLA School of Dentistry.

James J. Crall,DDS, MS, ScD, professor and chair of the division of public health andcommunity dentistry at the UCLA School of Dentistry and a member of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, willserve as project director of the oral health care initiative.