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Hurricane Katrina completely destroyed Coastal Family Health Center's dental facility in Biloxi which cared for more than 400 patients a month, leaving Biloxi and the coastal region without dental services for low-income patients.
Now a new mobile dental van, equipped by Project HOPE through a $150,000 Johnson and Johnson grant, is restoring dental health to families along Mississippi's Gulf Coast.
"Oral health is an important component to overall good health, yet Hurricane Katrina has taken away the availability of dental care to many low-income families along the Gulf Coast," said John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. "Johnson & Johnson and Project HOPE are pleased to continue our partnership with Coastal Family Health Center and to help the Center restore access to dental health care to the families in desperate need of these services."
The new mobile dental unit has two fully-equipped dental operatories, x-ray units and developer, sterilization units, an array of hand pieces and accessories, a handicapped lift, sanitary facilities and a mini- waiting room.
In addition to equipping the mobile dental clinic, Johnson & Johnson funds enabled Project HOPE to procure basic equipment for five dental operatories for CFHC's permanent dental clinic, currently under construction.
"We are grateful for the continued support of Project HOPE and companies such as Johnson & Johnson," said Joe Dawsey, Executive Director of Coastal Family Health Center. "Our successful partnerships with these organizations allow us to reestablish health care accessibility, including dental care, to all people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
When the land-based dental clinic is completed, the mobile dental clinic will continue to circulate throughout the coastal area providing services to outlying and isolated populations. This mobile unit will also provide readiness in the event of another debilitating Gulf storm.
Since November 2005, Project HOPE has provided more than $1.2 million in cash and gift-in-kind support to CFHC to re-establish primary health care services to families still impacted by Hurricane Katrina.