Combining Dental Care and Literacy for Low-Income Children
The pediatric dental clinics associated with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) College of Dentistry are providing more than just dental care to children. They have partnered with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation’s program, “A Book Just for Me,” to offer free books along with toothbrushes and toothpaste to all pediatric patients at the end of their dental visits. This initiative aims to promote both health and literacy simultaneously. Clarice Law Eyre, DMD, the chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health, introduced this program to UTHSC after her previous involvement with it in California. The foundation is committed to nurturing a love for music, literacy, and health, particularly among individuals at risk or from disadvantaged backgrounds. The College of Dentistry serves a predominantly low-income patient population, and the books, totaling around 2,000 for children of all ages, are now available at the UTHSC clinic and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. These books not only encourage reading and education but also help ease children’s anxiety during dental treatments. This initiative aligns with UTHSC’s mission of promoting healthy choices and healthy families, emphasizing the significance of reading as a family activity. Read more here.