Mercy Health Awarded $51K for Dental Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio has awarded the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley $51,000 to help implement innovative dental programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“We currently treat many children with ASD in the operating room due to their sensitivity to light, noise as well as communication and social behaviors,” said Dr. Jenelle Fleagle at the Mercy Health Ambulatory Dental Clinic. “Creating a sensory adaptive physical environment as well as training dental residents on how to properly care for these patients is not only innovative but incredibly impactful for our population in the Valley.”

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported one in 68 children have been identified with ASD and when applied to the four-county service area Mercy Health serves, an estimated 1,500 children are affected.

The program will be developed in partnership with the Rich Center for Autism and Potential Development Schools for Students with Autism, as well as local school districts.

“We are proud to partner with the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley in addressing this extremely important issue, said Paul Garchar, executive director of Potential Development. “Many of our students have sensory issues and cannot effectively express fears or anxiety, so visiting the dentist is a real challenge for both them and their parents.”

In addition to receiving annual oral examinations, screenings, cleanings, sealants and special procedures will also be offered.

The Mercy Health Foundation of the Mahoning Valley will contribute an additional $20,000 to ensure the program will be fully operational in the beginning of 2018.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.