Grant from the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation Aimed at Improving Oral Health for People with Disabilities

October 22, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. – For the second consecutive year, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation is supporting the Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire’s NH Leadership Series. The $7,500 grant will help improve oral health outcomes and oral health care access for individuals with disabilities through education, leadership and advocacy training, and building networks of support. The funded project will build on the success of the 2018-2019 Northeast Delta Dental Foundation grant, including further collaboration with statewide disability justice organization ABLE (Advocates Building Lasting Equality) NH’s Task Force on Dental Care.

“Individuals with disabilities face a cadre of challenges related to achieving and maintaining good oral health including lack of access to care due to limited Medicaid coverage, challenges with brushing due to sensory and/or mobility challenges, and more,” said Dr. Mary Schuh, Director of Development and Consumer Affairs at the IOD. “Thankfully, the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation acknowledges that individuals with disabilities are an underserved population and they’ve come beside us for the second year in a row to address this issue in the Granite State.”

The NH Leadership Series provides individuals with disabilities and their family members with education and training that helps improve health, academic, employment, and social outcomes for individuals with disabilities across the state. Each year, 30-35 new leaders are trained over an eight-month period (September-April), at a variety of off-site locations. The program was founded in 1988 and has graduated over 1,000 participants. For more information visit https://iod.unh.edu/projects/nh-leadership.

The 2019-2020 Northeast Delta Dental Foundation grant will support educating 35 disability self-advocates and family members of individuals with disabilities about oral health care, collaborating with ABLE NH to increase access to oral health care for individuals with disabilities, and forming a NH Leadership Series Action Group. The Action Group process allows participants to challenge themselves and their assumptions, map out and implement their plans for change, and learn how to work as members of a diverse group to influence a public issue through collective action.

The IOD at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 13,000+ undergraduate and 2,400 graduate students.