woman having dental exam

Columbia College of Dental Medicine Collaborates with New York State Dental Association to Expand Community Outreach

Columbia University's College of Dental Medicine is collaborating with the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA) to enhance access to dental services for underserved communities throughout Northern Manhattan and expand NYSDA’s Dental Demonstration Project to New York City.

As part of the collaboration, a community dental health coordinator (CDHC) will join the College of Dental Medicine to leverage existing relationships with neighborhood schools, community health clinics, and senior centers within the college’s Community DentCare Network and to increase dental services to low-income, underserved residents in Northern Manhattan.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the New York State Dental Association on this innovative program," says Biana Roykh, DDS, MPH, senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the College of Dental Medicine. “We look forward to replicating the success of the community dental health care model right here in Washington Heights, where the need is so great. The community dental health coordinator will strengthen our longstanding connections with our tremendous community partners, support our excellent providers in delivering services to our patients, and enable real progress in our ongoing commitment to health equity."

Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine (CDM) has long been committed to improving the oral health of residents in surrounding communities and the world at large. Columbia’s Community DentCare Network has logged more than 150,000 patient care visits in its nearly 20-year history, and CDM’s clinics are the major provider of oral health care services to underserved populations in Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights, and other neighborhoods throughout Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. By collaborating with NYSDA and introducing a dedicated, full-time community dental health coordinator, CDM aims to improve and enhance the patient experience by removing barriers to care and partnering more closely with local community health workers and community-based organizations.

The Dental Demonstration Project is a state-funded initiative that was launched by NYSDA in 2015 and benefits New York’s underserved communities across the state. Its primary mission is to match underserved patients to “dental homes” in their communities. The program aims to increase access to dental care, home health utilization, and oral health literacy and decrease the use of emergency departments for dental-focused problems.

“Collaborating with Columbia University College of Dental Medicine will allow us to expand the important work of the community dental health coordinator,” says Betsy Bray, director of health affairs for NYSDA. “CDHCs are front-line dental health workers who have both care-management training and an understanding of the communities they serve. The CDHC is a liaison between patients, physicians, dentists, community health centers, and social service agencies whose role is to facilitate access to care and improve the quality and cultural competency of care patients receive. We are fortunate to collaborate with Columbia University and commend the College of Dental Medicine for embracing this workforce model in New York State.”  


About The College of Dental Medicine  
Founded in 1916, Columbia’s College of Dental Medicine is a leader in applying clinical, research, and public policy approaches to oral health issues. Its Center for Precision Dental Medicine is at the forefront of providing personalized dental services, with state-of-the-art dental chairs for patient care and instruction, simulation training equipment, and technology to advance data sciences. The college is also the largest provider of primary and specialty oral health care in the Northern Manhattan communities of Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood.