With a population facing the highest percentages of tooth decay and oral cancer in the state of Michigan, Voices of Detroit continues to expand access to oral care. “Over the years, government cuts reduced the oral health system available to the working poor. Oral health care was only available in the emergency room at the University of Detroit, which handled dental emergencies and a clinic for the homeless,” says Lucille Smith, the director of Voices of Detroit says.
Voices of Detroit and several area hospitals are now training primary care physicians to evaluate the oral health of their patients, making it possible for the uninsured and under-insured to get access to dental care through primary health centers. Voices of Detroit also runs full-service dental clinics serving adults ages 18 to 64 who are without dental coverage.
In collaboration with the Delta Dental Foundation and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Voices of Detroit has sought to develop its own low-cost dental coverage for working adults who do not have insurance. The groups are building a formula in which employers would pay for the cost of a restorative care policy and the worker would make a contribution toward the maintenance of the policy.
Voices of Detroit was a grantee of the Community Voices: HealthCare for the Underserved initiative from August 1998 – December 2004.