W.K. Kellogg Foundation Extends Commitment to Reduce Oral Health Disparities
Posted on December 8, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has awarded a two year,
$400,000 grant to the American Dental Education Association Minority Dental Faculty
Development (ADEA MDFD) program to address oral health disparities in vulnerable children
and communities. The ADEA MDFD program’s approach is to bring together academic dental
health professionals with partners in their communities to create a longer term environment
where regular dental care is attainable by all Americans.
A growing body of research indicates that minority patients are more likely to seek health care
from a minority health care provider, and similarly, that practitioners from underserved areas
often return to those areas to practice. The MDFD program seeks to develop new, more diverse
generations of allied dental health professionals prepared to meet the systemic, unmet need for
dental care across the United States. It emphasizes best practices in outreach, leadership
development, academic mentorship and increasing diversity in the academic pipeline.
The two year grants for MDFD III (2013-2015) are being awarded to: the University of Detroit
Mercy, Georgia Regents University, Howard University (Year One: 2013-2014), and the
University of Oklahoma and University of Minnesota (Year Two: 2014-2015).
“The diversity of dental and allied dental school faculty has a direct and positive effect on
students, and ultimately on patients in communities where oral health care may be more difficult
to find,” says Jeanne C. Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D., ADEA Senior Scholar-in-Residence. “These
Kellogg Foundation grants are absolutely critical to the ability of the dental health professions to
do our part in getting oral health care to the people who need it most.”
As of October 2014, there are 4,968 areas in the country designated as Dental Health
Professional Shortage Areas, where there are 5,000 or more people per dentist. This lack of
access to oral health care affects Americans of all ages–adults with incomes below 100% of the
federal poverty line are three times more likely to have untreated oral health care needs, and it
is worse for children. In 2010, 4.2 million children aged 2–7 years were in need of dental care
and yet did not receive it.
“When people go without oral health care, they risk discomfort, disease and even death,” says
Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of ADEA. “We know that we can
start to close the gaps in access to oral health care with innovative approaches within education,
and the Kellogg Foundation’s support is a significant step forward to making that a
More information on the ADEA MDFD program is available here.