HANNIBAL -The Hannibal Central School District community is all smiles thanks to an oral health care initiative that will be implemented in the fall.
In collaboration with the University at Buffalo and with the efforts of state Sen. Patty Ritchie, the district will launch the “S-miles to Go” program beginning in October.
The program was unanimously approved by the Hannibal Board of Education at its Aug. 10 meeting and is designed to provide school-age Hannibal children with oral health care, all from the convenience of a mobile dental unit.
According to Superintendent Christopher Staats, “S-miles to Go” offers an array of services to students in rural areas where access to oral health care may be limited. Such services include dental screenings, cleanings, sealants, X-rays, fillings and a variety of other procedures.
“This is truly a wonderful program for our students, and I’m thrilled to engage in this partnership with the UB School of Dentistry,” Staats said. “I would like to thank Sen. Ritchie for her assistance connecting the University of Buffalo to the Hannibal Central School District. Our students will certainly benefit from this collaborative effort.”
Sen. Ritchie co-chairs the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources and has worked to address challenges that are unique to rural parts of the state.
“It goes without saying that providing quality health care, including dental care, is critically important to the well-being and growth of children,” Ritchie said. “However, in rural regions of our state, accessing care can be a challenge.”
After meeting with HCSD representatives, Ritchie reached out to the University at Buffalo’s dental coordinator, Paula Fischer, who leads the logistics of the S-miles to Go program.
Fischer and HCSD officials then developed a plan of action to bring the unique program to Hannibal.
“’S-miles to Go accomplishes two thing: it will help remove barriers and ensure local children receive the dental care they need, as well as introduce dental students to potential future opportunities in rural health care,” Ritchie said. “I was proud to play a role in bringing this fantastic program to the Hannibal Central School District and look forward to seeing how it enhances the lives of students.”
The state-of-the-art mobile dental unit is furnished with three dental chairs, high-tech diagnostic equipment, a patient waiting area and a panoramic X-ray facility.
When the mobile office rolls in for each visit, it will be staffed by three UB pediatric and general dentists, a dental hygienist and a dental assistant.
For more information about the program, please visit the UB Dental School’s website: dental.buffalo.edu