Funding establishes pediatric dental suite for underserved children

MESA, Ariz. – The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation has announced that A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) is a recipient of its premier Grand Slam Award given to non-profit organizations serving Arizona.

The $50,000 award establishes the Arizona Diamondbacks Pediatric Dental Suite at ATSU-ASDOH’s dental clinic in Mesa. The dental suite consists of two child-friendly rooms that offer a warm, nurturing environment for children to receive care.

“We are taking our young patients out to the ball park without leaving their dental chair thanks to the generosity of the Arizona Diamondbacks,” said ATSU-ASDOH Dean Jack Dillenberg, DDS, MPH. “Our pediatric patients will receive the best dental care in a fun environment with Baxter and views of center field.”

The pediatric dental suite will allow an increase in the existing clinic’s capacity by 19.9 percent from current levels as well as help ATSU-ASDOH students to improve their knowledge about the specialty of pediatric dental care.

A portion of the funds from the Grand Slam Award will go toward providing uncompensated oral care for children from low-income families. Children ages birth to 12 from working poor families receive care at ATSU-ASDOH’s pediatric clinic. Most of them are uninsured (93.77 percent) or have parents who are either unemployed or are struggling to pay their bills.

“We are proud of the new D-backs pediatric dental suite at A.T. Still University and are thrilled that this grant will assist families that are unable to afford proper dental care treatments,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “The suite looks fantastic, and we know that it will put smiles on the faces of many young D-backs fans in the years to come.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation established the Grand Slam Awards in 2002 to make a larger impact on community organizations by providing a grant for up to $100,000. The D-backs will award five local organizations with Grand Slam Awards throughout the 2012 season, including A.T. Still University ($50,000), Make-A-Wish Foundation ($50,000), Kitchen on the Street ($100,000), Florence Crittenton ($100,000), and Children’s Museum of Phoenix ($100,000). The grants are made possible by fundraising efforts by the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and by contributions from the D-backs partnership group.

About ATSU-ASDOH

The first dental school in Arizona and the nation’s first truly public health dental school, ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health has been educating dentists and serving the state’s oral healthcare needs since 2003. The school and dental clinic use an educational model that matches an exceptional team of motivated, experienced faculty with students in pre-clinical and clinical phases of their training.

ATSU-ASDOH places special emphasis on patient care experiences through simulation, integration of biomedical and clinical sciences, and problem-solving scenarios to achieve clinical experience and includes a strong component of public health, leadership, and practice.

In addition to oral health issues and dentistry skills, students are encouraged to be caring, community-minded healthcare providers. Graduates are expected to become leaders in their communities and managers of public, not-for-profit, and private sector oral health organizations.

About the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation

Established in 1997, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation focuses its efforts in three main areas of need: homelessness, indigent healthcare, and children’s programs of all types, including education and youth baseball field development. Through fundraising activities, the team’s charitable arm has raised and donated more than $30 million to the Arizona community. The cornerstone of giving for the foundation is the “Diamonds Back” Field Building Program, which has built or refurbished more than 30 youth baseball fields in Arizona since 2000. The D-backs became the first professional sports team to win the inaugural 2010 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award, which names the organization as the most positive team in the world and recognizes organizations that positively impact their community through corporate responsibility.

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