In November 2009, the NYUCD Department of Pediatric Dentistry coordinated and hosted the inaugural meeting of the New York City Pediatric Oral Health Consortium in support of Head Start "dental homes" for children. The NYUCD event, which brought together all the pediatric dentistry residency programs in the New York City area, launched the NYC component of a new partnership between the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the national Head Start (HS) program that is designed to foster a network of dentists at the national, regional, state, and local levels that will link HS children with "dental homes," or sites at which each child's oral health care will be delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way by a licensed dentist. Since HS provides comprehensive developmental services in NYC for approximately 10,000 low-income preschool children between the ages of three and five and support services for their families, this means that approximately 10,000 NYC youngsters will have dental homes.
Dr. Amr M. Moursi, Associate Professor and Chair of NYUCD's Department of Pediatric Dentistry, is one of two Co-State leaders for New York State in this initiative. The other Co-State leader is Dr. Courtney Chinn of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.
"The Consortium participants created a directory of NYC pediatric dental residency programs," explained Dr. Moursi. "This contact information will be distributed to the 380 HS sites in the city to expedite referrals and requests for exams, training, and education.
"We also provided each pediatric dentistry residency program with a list of the HS programs near them, using our geographic information systems software, and asked them to contact the HS sites directly in order to establish an ongoing relationship. In addition, program directors were encouraged to assign someone from their program to serve on health advisory panels at HS programs near them."