Fourth-year dental students Gentry Lasater and Veronica Matthews were recently named recipients of a grant from the American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) to support their work regarding oral care in pregnant women. The more than $3,000 is from the ADAF’s Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health.
The grant supports the work that Lasater and Matthews have been conducting in tandem with the school’s Prenatal Oral Health Program (pOHP). A collaborative effort between the UNC School of Dentistry and the UNC School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pOHP is aims to educate pregnant women and their care providers about proper oral care during pregnancy and proper oral care for the child after birth. Advocates of the program believe that by educating a pregnant woman about oral care, providers not only improve the mother’s oral health but also that of her child. The program is designed to empower women with best practices for herself and her newborn so the chance of early childhood caries is reduced.
The program was founded jointly by Dr. Rocio Quinonez, associate professor in the UNC School of Dentistry Department of Pediatric Dentistry and the School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Kim Boggess, professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“The work that Gentry and Veronica are doing with the pOHP initiative is critical to the program’s growth and, ultimately, to educating women about how to maintain proper oral health for themselves and their children,” explained Quinonez. “We’re thrilled that their work has been recognized by the ADA Foundation and that they’ve been given this additional funding to put towards their efforts.”
The ADAF annually awards money from the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health to applicants whose programs improve and maintain children’s oral health through education and outreach. This year, the ADAF received more than 90 applications for grants through the fund; the foundation elected to award 25 of those with grant money. In sum, the ADAF awarded $115,000 through the Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health this year.