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Grant supports Reach Out and Read initiative in Michigan, Ohio

Okemos, Michigan— The Delta Dental Foundation today announced a grant for the Reach Out and Read initiative empowering doctors to talk with parents about making oral health and reading part of a healthy routine. Along with this guidance, families receive children’s books with oral health themes. Doctors use the book during the exam to discuss oral health with families in an approachable and fun way. The partnership is in its fourth year with a total of nearly $200,000 in funds distributed.

“The Delta Dental Foundation is committed to building healthy, smart, and vibrant communities in the states we serve,” said Holli Seabury, Ed.D., executive director of the Delta Dental Foundation. “We know that healthy habits, when started early, can last a lifetime. That’s why we’re proud to partner with some of Michigan and Ohio’s largest health organizations to work with parents and children to emphasize the importance of dental health and reading.”

The Oral Health Project incorporates oral health guidance into Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based early literacy program. The program provides clinic on-boarding and training, oral health books for all participating sites,(including age-specific reading materials in the languages spoken at home, and other educational materials from the Delta Dental Foundation. Progress of the program is tracked regularly and adjusted to ensure needs are being met.

“The Ohio and Michigan partnership with the Delta Dental Foundation is a valued special initiative of Reach Out and Read," said Lori Legendre, Program Director for Reach Out and Read of Northwest Ohio. "Carefully chosen oral health books perfect for our audience of families with children 6 months-5 years are a well-loved tool in the exam room for doctors to model and discuss the importance of making oral health and early literacy part of daily routines at home.”

Participating sites in Michigan and Ohio include Covenant Community Care in Detroit, Canton Health Center (Michigan Medicine), Northville Health Center (Michigan Medicine), Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Caughman Health Center (Findlay, OH), Promedica Center for Health Services (Toledo, OH) and Wood County Medical Associates (Bowling Green, OH).