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NEW Community Dental Clinic at NWTC wins state partnership award

Author: Casey M Fryda

Tuesday October 14, 2014

The NEW Community Dental Clinic, located on the campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, has been named one of two recipients of the 2014 Global Vision Community Partnership Award from the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Inc. (WHA) Foundation. The Columbus Community Hospital’s "Live It! Real Life Nutrition for Teens" program for middle school students was also named a winner.

The WHA Foundation’s Global Vision Community Partnership Award is a competitive grant award created in 1995 to recognize the efforts of WHA members in meeting the documented health needs in their communities through creativity, innovation, partnership, and collaboration.

The NEW Community Dental Clinic exists through the collaboration of St. Mary’s and St. Vincent Hospitals, both part of the Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) Eastern Wisconsin Division; NWTC; and the NEW Community Clinic, a federally-qualified health center. The dental clinic is part of a medical clinic on the NWTC campus, allowing real-life training experience for NWTC students who provide dental hygiene services to Medicaid and uninsured patients when classes are in session, serving patients who don’t need a higher level of services.

While the NEW Community Clinic has had a dentist on staff since 2011, that was not enough to address the growing number of patients at Green Bay hospital emergency departments (ED) for dental problems. More than 2,000 patients are seen in Green Bay hospital EDs annually for a preventable dental condition, and the 2012 Brown County community health needs assessment identified oral health as one of the top three health focus areas for Brown County.

In 2012, St. Mary’s and St. Vincent Hospitals provided needed funds to open a six-chair operatory in space donated and remodeled by NWTC, an additional dentist was hired, and the new dental clinic was opened in April 2013. In addition to services provided by the two dentists and the NWTC dental hygiene students, beginning early this year, two Green Bay-based oral surgery groups have voluntarily started to see patients one half day each week, with the hopes of eventually bringing oral surgery students to the clinic.

The dental clinic had more than 4,000 visits in 2013, and between January and May 2014, had nearly 2,200 visits, with the vast majority of these patients on Medicaid. These numbers do not include patient visits to NWTC dental hygiene students during the school year. Clinic collaborators are monitoring hospital ED data for signs that improved access to dental care is causing a drop in ED visits for dental conditions.

Global Vision Community Partnership Award winners receive a plaque commemorating the award and a $2,500 grant for the continued support of their program. To date, the Award has honored 38 innovative programs in communities throughout Wisconsin.

For more information on the N.E.W. Community Clinic, visit http://www.newcommunityclinic.org/.

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