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First Niagara Bank Foundation supports Mount St. Mary's Hospital's Neighborhood Health Center's 'Caring Smiles' program

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Tue, Aug 2nd 2016 10:45 am

The Mount St. Mary's Hospital Foundation announced it received a $15,000 grant from the First Niagara Foundation for the hospital's "Caring Smiles" dental program.

"Caring Smiles" was initiated in 2014 to address critical oral health needs for uninsured or underinsured patients of the Mount St. Mary's Neighborhood Health Center at Ninth Street and Profit Lane in the City of Niagara Falls. In establishing the program, Mount St. Mary's found the majority of its patients at the health center had not received dental care for three to 15 years. Lack of dental care expressed itself clearly.

"We recognized that the health of our patients is compromised, and illness is exacerbated by serious dental problems," said Mount St. Mary's President and CEO Gary C. Tucker, FACHE. "Unfortunately, patients were choosing between dental care or providing food for their families. 'Caring Smiles' is going a long way toward addressing that problem."

"The First Niagara Foundation is proud to partner with Mount St. Mary's Neighborhood Health Center to provide dental care services to those in need. This program helps to address critical health needs in our community while also making an impact on the social and emotional well-being of the patients served," said Buford Sears, First Niagara regional president, Western New York. "This collaboration enables us to target our resources and affect positive change in our neighborhoods."

When established, the program's goal was to promote the value, dignity and respect for the marginalized.

"This program has raised awareness of the critical nature of integrating dental care into a person's health plan," said Patricia Villani, director of the Mount St. Mary's Neighborhood Health Center. "Our provider pool has expanded to a group truly committed to serve the poor. Patient experience has been overwhelmingly positive."

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