Grant Project Title
Teledentistry Assessment Portal (TAP) for Individuals with Disabilities
Grantee Address

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA
United States

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental Medicine) delivers academic programs, performs research, and provides care locally in Pennsylvania. Penn Dental Medicine is seeking $67,563 through the Emergent and Relief Fund to deliver a Personalized Care Teledentistry Assistance Program for individuals with disabilities and their families. Currently, adults with disabilities in Pennsylvania face significant barriers to oral health care. Individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers and families, often must travel long distances to major cities to receive oral health care, while at the same time appointments for this population with qualified providers are limited, leaving people on waitlists for months.

To address the access issue, Penn Dental Medicine recently opened the Care Center for Persons with Disabilities, a twelve operatory care facility specifically for adults with disabilities that will deliver 10,000 oral healthcare appointments per year. The head of the Care Center itself is Dr. Miriam Robbins, overseen by Dean Mark Wolff.

To complement this new center, and to reduce transportation challenges for individuals with disabilities and their families, Penn Dental Medicine is seeking funding to implement teledentistry for pre-appointment counseling on oral health maintenance and patient data collection, to assess non-urgent dental issues, and triage oral health emergencies. The program will be delivered by pre-doctoral DMD students under the guidance of a public health hygienist. The public health hygienist would also produce online educational tools for adults with disabilities and their families around optimum oral healthcare.

Penn Dental Medicine will determine prospective patients by partnering with other local disability-focused organizations, including ACHIEVA, a CareQuest Institute grantee, University of Pittsburgh School for Medicine Center for Patients with Special Needs, Children’s Hospital of PA, PA Coalition for Oral Health, and FQHCs. They also anticipate recruiting patients via their relationships with local faith leaders and community-based organizations. Lastly, Penn Dental Medicine will engage their existing Community Health Worker program to promote the new initiative.

Learnings from the implementation of this program will be disseminated as part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities lecture series, which is available at no cost to dental professionals. In the long-term, the organization staff envisions the program remaining sustainable through reimbursement.

The majority of the budget is dedicated toward staff time and benefits. The remainder is dedicated toward patient supplies and transportation vouchers. This request represents 0.06% of the overall organizational budget.

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