Project Will Enable Greater Access to Oral Health Care for Jefferson, Lewis Residents
WATERTOWN — A Community Foundation grant will help the North Country Family Health Center expand oral health care services at its main Arsenal Street location, which will provide safe and affordable access for patients while decreasing dependency on hospital and emergency room care across Jefferson and Lewis counties for oral health cases.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors approved a $25,000 award during its last quarterly meeting that will enable the Health Center to move forward with a planned 1,200-square-foot renovation, which will convert current administrative space to create three new dental exam rooms and a lab, which will allow the Health Center to expand oral health care services at 238 Arsenal Street. Recent research indicates a significant spike in emergency room cases because of oral care needs among rural residents of Jefferson and Lewis counties who have limited access to proper oral health care.
The Federally Qualified Health Center provides critical services to a wide range of residents, including individuals and families who are most vulnerable. Health Center officials anticipate about 2,100 patients annually will gain access to affordable oral care when the new space opens by the end of this year.
North Country Family Health Center CEO Joey Marie Horton said access to oral health care is an “essential part of an individual’s overall health and well-being.”
“Unfortunately, many in our communities lack access to affordable and timely oral health care. We are thrilled to be able to partner with the Community Foundation to expand access to oral health care in our community,” Ms. Horton said. “With the generous support of the Foundation, this expansion will allow for additional restorative dental procedures to be completed on site and will increase our staff by one dentist and one dental hygienist.”
Ms. Horton added that the Health Center accepts all patients, and offers a sliding fee scale based on income, so the additional dental services will enable all residents to access proper preventive care that could prevent costlier oral medical emergencies.
“We have a history of donors who have held access to health care close to their hearts. This also builds upon our many years of investment in overall accessibility to community health services through the Health Center,” said Rande Richardson, Community Foundation executive director. “We recognize the importance of dental health as it relates to overall health and well-being, as well as the ability to help provide the best opportunities for those who are most vulnerable.”
About the North Country Family Health Center
Founded in 1971 as the North Country Children’s Clinic, the Health Center today is one of 1,400 Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in the country. Serving Jefferson and Lewis counties, North Country Family Health Center offers “one-stop care” — primary and preventive health visits, dental, and mental health services; case management; insurance enrollment; and WIC services — all located, coordinated, and tailored to meet each patient’s needs, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. It operates four community-based clinics in Watertown, Evans Mills and Lowville, and 14 school-based clinics, which collectively deliver care to more than 11,000 residents. Learn more at nocofamilyhealth.org.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors, and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.