Community outreach fills gap in oral care
Vulnerable populations without access to oral health care suffer the consequences every day, from tooth decay to undetected oral cancer. To address this critical issue, UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry conducts a broad range of community outreach programs serving uninsured, low-income families and individuals.
Shalizeh (Shelly) Patel, DDS, manages several endowments that support these initiatives: David B. Meraz Memorial Fund for Veterans Oral Health, Mina Rosenthal-Eames Patient Care Fund, and the Pediatric Dentistry Community Outreach Endowment. This funding provides comprehensive care for underserved children at the school’s clinic, bringing preventive services and treatment to communities in Houston and East Texas through the Mobile Dental Van, and delivering clinical care for veterans who lack dental insurance. Another initiative offers treatment for victims of domestic violence, many of whom suffer fractured teeth from abusive partners.
The generosity of donors including Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; T.L.L. Temple Foundation; Episcopal Health Foundation; School of Dentistry faculty member Nina S. Leifeste, DDS; H.H. & Edna Houseman Charitable Foundation; A-dec, Inc.; and School of Dentistry graduate Victoria Cisneros, DDS, make these ongoing initiatives possible.