First 5 LA

Promoting Oral Health in Children

Through two different contracts awarded in 2013, totaling nearly $21 million, First 5 LA collaborated with the UCLA School of Dentistry to expand and improve the infrastructure and operations of 22 community clinics in underserved communities across Los Angeles County.Young Pediatric Dentistry Program

The ultimate goal of the projects is to improve and increase access to quality dental care for children ages 0 to 5. First 5 LA, the Los Angeles-based child advocacy and grantmaking organization, oversees the county’s allocation of funds generated by Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California.

The first award, of more than $9 million, was awarded to the School of Dentistry in April of 2012. This funding established the First 5 LA 21st Century Community Dental Homes Project, whose main objective is to develop a sustainable community “dental home” model of care for children. Through the establishment of “dental homes,” the School of Dentistry hopes to increase access dental care to at least 13,000 children over the three and a half years of the project, as well as provide education to parents and child care providers about the importance of oral health care.

To achieve the goals in the “dental homes” project, the School of Dentistry has partnered with several regional organizations, including the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, Safety Net Solutions, and Sesame Workshop.

The second award, of more than $11 million, came on March 1, 2013. These funds established the UCLA–First 5 LA Children’s Dental Care Program (CDCP) with a goal of serving an additional 41,000 children over the five years of the project.

Leading the two projects is Dr. Jim Crall, Professor and Chair of the Division of Public Health and Community Dentistry. In addition to improving the infrastructure to provide access to dental care, the School of Dentistry hopes to gain a better understanding of the barriers that traditionally have limited the use of dental care services by underserved groups.

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