News - February 2006

Aetna Continues Relationship With The National Dental Association To Eliminate Disparities In Dental Health

$25,000 grant funds project to promote opportunities in dental care for under-represented populations

Aetna Inc. announced a $25,000 grant to the National Dental Association (NDA) for its community health, access, recruitment and mentoring project. The grant will help the NDA continue its mission to enhance the skills of its members, recruit minorities into the profession and create opportunities for research.

"We are delighted to join the NDA in its efforts to recruit and mentor African American dental students, thereby promoting oral health care among underserved populations," said Dr. Mary Lee Conicella, Aetna Dental's national director of Clinical Operations and NDA Corporate Roundtable member. "In doing this, we hope to improve public awareness of the relationship between oral health and overall health. The goals of the NDA align with Aetna 's mission to identify areas of focus and courses of action to address disparities in health care."

This year to date, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded over $3.75 million to programs focused primarily on addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health and disease prevention. Since 1982, Aetna has published the African American History Calendar in recognition of the outstanding contributions of African Americans. The 2004 calendar saluted African American dentists and their role in public health.

"What is important to recognize is that when the NDA goes into America 's communities of color with the message of how dental health relates to overall health, we know we do not go alone," said NDA President Dr. Aljernon Bolden. "We take Aetna with us and we are very proud to do so, because we know that Aetna shares our mission: to eliminate health disparities."

To elevate the dental health status of minorities, the NDA works to improve the delivery of oral health care in underserved communities while improving educational opportunities of minorities in the oral health field. The NDA formed its Corporate Roundtable in 1997 to provide resources, advice and counsel to the NDA on membership, scholarship and community education.

The National Dental Association (NDA) is comprised of 48 state and local chapters throughout the United States and Caribbean that represent over 7,000 black dentists and 35 million black Americans. Since its inception in 1913, the NDA has been dedicated to increasing minorities' access to care by serving as advocates in the legislative arena and private sector. Today, the NDA strives to ensure continuing service and workforce diversity by actively promoting the oral health care field as a viable profession for African Americans and other under-represented minorities.


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