Since 1996 the Community DentCare Network, a collaborative of the Columbia University School of Dental & Oral Surgery, the Harlem Hospital Dental Service and community-based groups in Central Harlem and Washington Heights, has brought oral health preventive and treatment services to five of the school-based health centers in which Community Health Education Program (CHEP) provided medical services. The Community DentCare Network mission is to establish an improved health delivery system that shifts care to neighborhoods through organized plans established on the basis of health data, emphasizing preventive approaches and access to care.
This project is a joint effort of the New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Network’s (NYPH/ACNC) sponsored Community Health and Education Program (CHEP) and the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery’s Community DentCare Network Program. The project will develop a comprehensive school-based dental program at the Family Academy, a New York City public school located in the Harlem community of northern Manhattan. This comprehensive program will include the establishment of a two-chair permanent dental suite within the Family Academy School-Based health center and will be staffed by dentists and dental hygienists. Adding dentistry to the primary care services that will be provided at the Family Academy will significantly reduce barriers to dental health care access and thereby improve the health status and quality of life of the students there. The business plan for the Family Academy comprehensive dental program projects a sustainable, self-supporting effort following the initial three years of operations. on.