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HealthFirst in Fall River Gets Grant to Expand Dental Services

healthfirst dental grant

The dental program at the HealthFirst Family Care Center will receive a sizeable grant to expand its services and increase the number of patients it’s able to serve.

HealthFirst was awarded $350,000 a year for two years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We’re thrilled to get this award,” said HealthFirst CEO Julie Almond. “We know how important (oral care) is to a person’s overall health.”

The grant will allow HealthFirst to hire an additional full-time dentist, a full-time dental hygienist assistant, a full-time dental supervisor, a full-time dental treatment plan coordinator, and a part-time dental assistant.

Currently, the dental program at HealthFirst employs five dentists including its dental director, 1.2 hygienists, and 14 other staffers and assistants.

“This will really take us to another level,” Almond said.

Dental Director Dr. Anila Khalid said the grant will improve access to oral health care and overall health outcomes, for both adults and children.

“Poor oral health is associated with diabetes, heart disease and premature birth,” Khalid said. “We work diligently to promote the importance of preventive dental care in both adult and pediatric underserved populations of Fall River and this grant will allow us the opportunity to strengthen our mission of raising awareness about the importance of preventive oral health care”

The grant will also fund new equipment and supplies for the dental program. Khalid said it will provide additional services like stainless steel crowns and root canal therapy for both pediatric and adult patients.

Almond said writing the grant was a collaboration between Khalid, dental supervisor Grace Medeiros, and grant writer Ann Myrtise Cretsedmas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants for oral care amounted to $156 million. HealthFirst was one of 420 health centers in 47 states to receive a grant, and the only center in Greater Fall River.