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Northern Dental gets $29,950 in Medica foundation grant

Medica Foundation has awarded a $29,950 grant to Northern Dental Access Center in Bemidji. Funds will be used to develop curriculum to help educate people of all ages about the importance of preventive dental care and how oral health impacts overall health.

Through cooperation with human service agencies and schools in the region, Northern Dental staff will be available to make presentations and provide tools and tips.

"We are grateful that Medica Foundation shares our commitment to improving the health of our community," said Northern Dental Access Center Executive Director Jeanne Edevold Larson stated in a news release. "This award will allow our staff and dentists to reach out to community groups and classrooms and raise awareness of how to care for a healthy smile and about access to dental care available in our new clinic. It's one of many examples of the partners who have stepped forward to support our efforts."

"Having dental professionals available to build awareness among parent and children about the importance of oral health will help us provide care to people in need before their situation becomes a medical emergency," said Mary Marchel, director of Beltrami County Health and Human Services.

"Reaching children and their parents before disease becomes out of control will decrease the need for emergency care and improve the ability for children to learn," said Sue Nokleby, Bemidji Area Schools district nurse.

The Medica Foundation's mission is to fund community-based initiatives and programs that support the needs of Medica customers and the greater community by improving health and removing barriers to health care services.

It is a nonprofit, charitable grant-making foundation and a sister organization to Medica Health Plans, a Minnesota-based nonprofit HMO.

Medica, a health insurance company headquartered in Minneapolis, serves about 1.4 million members.

Community groups and schools interested in hosting an oral health presentation for children or adults can contact Lisa Matilla at the Northern Dental Access Center at 444-9646.