On May 15, 2014, a new dental clinic, serving children in foster care, opened its doors on the campus grounds of child welfare agency Forestdale, Inc. Several elected officials, nonprofit leaders, and members of the community attended the ribbon-cutting event in honor of the new clinic.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 35% of children entering foster care suffer from severe dental and oral health issues throughout the US. This clinic was therefore a much needed step towards promoting oral and dental hygiene amongst foster care youth.
"Our goal is for kids to leave with healthy smiles and confidence," said Forestdale Executive Director Anstiss Agnew. "We want the children to have state of the art dental care and knowledge that puts them on a path to life-long good health." US Congresswoman Grace Meng hailed the Forestdale-NYU model. "We need more programs like this for youth in foster care," she said.
The dental clinic was created by Forestdale, Inc. in association with the NYU College of Dentistry. "NYU College of Dentistry has a strong commitment to serving the community," said Dr. Mark Wolff, Chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care. "We want our students to dream big about how they can serve others."
The clinic will be staffed by fourth-year NYU dental students under the supervision of experienced professors. It will provide comprehensive preventive care to over 350 children in foster care during its first year of operation. If patients require more advanced dental procedures, then that will be provided by the NYU dental van that pays frequent visits to Forestdale twice a month.
NY Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz said "This is one of those home runs where everyone benefits. Kids get great care, dental students gain experience, and parents get the support they need."
The dental clinic is the third health initiative to take place between Forestdale and NYU. Other health initiatives include the Forestdale Children's Health Clinic and Trauma Systems Therapy programs operating in partnership with the NYU College of Nursing and Child Study Center.