Greenville Technical College has received a grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, for upgrading of the college’s dental clinic.
The college is home to the largest dental hygiene associate degree program in the Upstate and plays an essential role in creating a pipeline of qualified dental hygienists for the state. As these students are trained, they gain real-world, hands-on experience in a clinic that addresses the preventative dental care needs of the community.
The clinic serves many clients of low to moderate income, often referred by partnering community agencies. Over the last two years, demand for clinic services has skyrocketed with 1,605 patients seen in 2018 and 1,900 served in 2019. Poor oral health has serious consequences, linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, transmission of infectious diseases, premature births, respiratory infections, Alzheimer’s disease and uncontrolled blood sugar levels in diabetics.
In order to meet public demand for clinic services and ensure that the facility can meet standards for reaccreditation, plans call for the clinic to be renovated and upgraded with the addition of industry-grade equipment and the adoption of an improved, real-world, scientific workflow. A grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation will allow the purchase of two hydrim instrument washers, three intra-oral cancer detection devices and additional supplies, including gloves, gowns, masks and more.
“We deeply appreciate the assistance of the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation in ensuring that our students have the best tools for learning and that our community has access to affordable dental services,” said Ann Wright, vice president for advancement with the Greenville Tech Foundation. “This gift demonstrates a deep commitment to improving both education and community health.”
“The Foundation is proud to partner with the Greenville Tech Foundation to care for our most vulnerable residents in the state,” said Erika Kirby, executive director for the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation. “Increasing access to dental care for all of our citizens is critical due in part to the impact oral health has on overall health.”