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HRSA AWARDS $2 MILLION FOR HIV/AIDS ORAL HEALTH INITIATIVE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HRSA AWARDS LUTHERAN FAMILY HEALTH CENTERS $2 MILLION FOR GROUNDBREAKING HIV/AIDS ORAL HEALTH INITIATIVE

The Lutheran Family Health Centers network has received a special grant for $2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) to support groundbreaking oral health care initiatives for people living with HIV/AIDS.

This innovative grant, written and submitted by the Lutheran Family Health Centers' Department of Dental Medicine, involves three primary components: incorporating HIV rapid testing during routine dental visits, creating a national curriculum to train dentists in this new approach to care, and developing HIV/AIDS clinics and oral health initiatives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lutheran's dental training program currently spans communities from Alaska, to New York to Hawaii and a host of locations between.

"With comprehensive dental residency sites in 12 states, combining our expertise in oral health and HIV care is a natural fit," says Larry K. McReynolds, executive director of Lutheran Family Health Centers. "We are very pleased to play a key role in battling HIV and AIDS issues locally and beyond our borders."

"This is a giant leap for dental care," said Neal A. Demby, D.M.D., M.P.H., director of Dental Medicine. "By including HIV rapid testing in a routine dental diagnostic visit, we are essentially studying an entirely new process to oral care. Our dental residency programs, located in a wide variety of communities, will enable us to examine the efficacy of this new program among extremely diverse cultures. Most importantly, we'll be developing an innovative new protocol to care."

Lutheran's work in the AIDS community is extensive. The Lutheran Family Health Centers have been committed to educating and serving HIV positive and those at-risk in Brooklyn communities for nearly 20 years. In 1988, Lutheran's Special Care Immunology Services Program was named a N.Y.S. Department of Health Designated HIV/AIDS Center. In 2003, Lutheran was the recipient of HRSA's first "US/Caribbean HIV/AIDS Twinning Collaborative" award to form a bi-lateral relationship to improve AIDS care in the Caribbean and the United States. In 2006, through community outreach and outpatients visits, the Lutheran HealthCare network provided 4,000 rapid HIV tests in Brooklyn.

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The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), based in Sunset Park, is a federally qualified community-based ambulatory health care system affiliated with Lutheran HealthCare. Governed by the Sunset Park Health Council, Inc., and serving southwest Brooklyn, LFHC is one of the largest health center networks in the country. With nine full-time community health centers, eight medical partnerships, eleven school-based health centers and community programs, including three WIC programs, adult and family literacy programs, three child care centers and a family wellness center to serve those affected by the September 11th tragedy, the network has served as Brooklyn's medical home for more than 40 years.

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