Updated: 1:04 a.m. Friday, May 3, 2013 | Posted: 8:40 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mobile dental care a first in Butler County

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Mobile dental care a first in Butler County photo
Guests get their first look at Primary Health Solutions’ new dental van during an unveiling ceremony at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton.
Mobile dental care a first in Butler County photo
Primary Health Solutions’ new dental care vehicle will provide on-site dental care to children in Butler County schools and serve other under-served populations, such as the severely mentally ill and substance abuse patients.

By Eric Schwartzberg

Staff Writer

HAMILTON —

A Hamilton-based nonprofit is taking its effort to promote good oral health on the road.

Primary Health Solutions’ new dental care vehicle will provide on-site dental care to children in Butler County schools and serve other under-served populations, such as the severely mentally ill and substance abuse patients, according to PHS spokeswoman Lajuana Miller.

For many in Ohio who live below the poverty line, access to affordable health care is a problem, including dental care for children, said Marc Bellisario, Primary Health’s CEO.

“We know that children who have dental pain are unable to concentrate in school and they fall behind their peers,” Bellisario said. “Many of these children come to school day after day experiencing this pain and unable to study.”

Primary Health will start by serving Hamilton City Schools this August, but will eventually partner with schools countywide, he said.

Using design to make the vehicle age-appropriate and appealing for school-age children “shows a lot of vision and a lot of experience and understanding of health care,” said Janet Baker, superintendent for Hamilton schools.

“The draw of how the van looks makes it really inviting and warm and it’s going to have the same impact on our students,” Baker said. “Our job as educators is to really set them up for success and certainly this van is a great step in that direction.”

The vehicle is the result of funding from the Hamilton Community Foundation, Miami Valley Health Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Hamilton Community Foundation gets the opportunity to participate in many, many worthwhile projects in the community, said John Guidugli, the foundation’s president and CEO. “I have a hard time thinking of any project that we’re involved with that will have a greater personal impact on those served” than Primary Health’s dental vehicle.

PHS is looking for community support, both from area foundations and individuals, to continue operating the van, Bellisario said.

“Even though it’s paid for, it’s still going to be expensive to operate,” he said.

The 40-foot-long vehicle features two patient chairs, full treatment X-ray and a waiting area for children to watch movies.

Jeff Diver, vice chairman for Primary Health’s board of trustees, said there is no other mobile dental van outside of Cincinnati.

“This is going to fill a great community need that we have in Butler County,” Diver said.

If a student needs to return to have more work done, the vehicle will remain on site, said Peggy Vazquez, director of clinical operation for Primary Health Solutions.

“We will not leave a school until all the kids are done,” Vazquez said.

 
 

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