In the United States, tooth decay is the single most common chronic disease of childhood. It affects one in four elementary school children and two out of three adolescents. Nationally, children lose 51,000,000 school hours to dental problems each year. According to the US Department of Health, a 2005 study indicated 2,900 children under the age of five were hospitalized for tooth decay in New York State alone.
Through consultations with local health and school officials in Sullivan County, The PRASAD Project determined that a school-based dental health program was needed – one that could provide comprehensive dental services, including education, prevention, detection and treatment. In April 1998, PRASAD Children’s Dental Health Program began to provide that school-based program.
PRASAD CDHP delivers services via a state-of-the-art mobile clinic. We chose this approach because of Sullivan County’s rural nature and the lack of public transportation. We provide these services through arrangements with schools and colleges, with local agencies such as Social Services, County Public Health and the Head Start program, and with local and New York State officials.