Richmond, VA (August 6, 2013) – Recognizing the importance of good oral health for the well-being of Virginia’s children, the Virginia Oral Health Coalition today announced a $20,000 contribution from AT&T to support an education program for pediatricians, caregivers and social service providers designed to encourage early dental care for young children in the Commonwealth. The goal of the program is to reduce the risk of preventable dental disease.
J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid Atlantic, said the contribution is aligned with the AT&T Foundation’s health and human services pillar, which focuses on supporting programs that use innovative and/or collaborative approaches to address key community health and human services issues.
Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among Virginia’s children. Despite the fact that it is almost entirely preventable, it leads to millions of lost school hours, failure to thrive and difficulty learning,” said Sarah Bedard Holland, the Coalition’s executive director. “When dental visits begin at a child’s first birthday, dental disease is prevented before it has a chance to progress. AT&T’s generous support will increase the number of young children able to access oral health services, giving them the opportunity of a lifetime of excellent oral health.
Virginia Delegate John O’Bannon said the work of the Coalition is vitally important to Virginia’s children.
“Improving access to oral health programs is important to all Virginians. Preventing dental disease not only can reduce the cost of health care, it can save lives,” said O’Bannon. “I applaud AT&T for its support of the Coalition, which works tirelessly on behalf of our children.”
“Good oral health is important to a child’s overall health and well-being,” said Schweder. “The Virginia Oral Health Coalition does a great job of collaborating with doctors, care givers and social service providers to educate children and their families across the Commonwealth, and we’re excited to help them carry out their important mission.”
The Virginia Oral Health Coalition is a group of committed individuals and organizations working to bring excellent oral health to all Virginians. To meet this mission, the Coalition drives the Virginia Oral Health Plan. The plan’s objectives are to utilize advocacy, public awareness and innovative new programs to:
- Change perceptions of oral health;
- Remove known barriers between people and oral health services; and
- Build an effective oral health infrastructure by ensuring dental providers and future dental providers are prepared to meet the needs of the underserved in Virginia.
About Philanthropy from AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2012, more than $131 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.