Project Accessible Oral Health Funded by Claire Friedlander Family Foundation

The Claire Friedlander Foundation is very proud to fund Project Accessible Oral Health (PAOH), created by the The Viscardi Center and Henry Schein, Inc.. PAOH is an international public-private partnership that will raise awareness of, and address the significant need for, increased oral health care for people with disabilities, thus improving their overall health and quality of life.

People with disabilities face a number of barriers to accessing quality oral health care, from the difficulty in paying for treatment, to obtaining dental coverage, to the physical challenges of accessing a practitioner’s office or being seated in a dental chair. For oral health care practitioners, lack of alignment within the reimbursement system creates an added challenge to serving this population, which requires ongoing professional development and training to address the unique needs of children and adults with diverse disabilities.

To kick off its proactive work to address these and other obstacles to improved care and healthier outcomes, PAOH will host an inaugural two-day meeting October 26-27, convening many of the world’s foremost experts from the fields of dentistry and disabilities-focused health care, as well as dental educators, advocates, and members of the disabilities community, public health and policy experts, and representatives from the dental industry. Together, these stakeholders will explore ways to improve access to oral health care for people with disabilities while advancing oral health literacy among the broader community.

Dr. Steve Perlman, founder of Special Olympics Special Smiles, will serve as the keynote speaker for the first day of the event, which will be held at The Viscardi Center in Albertson, N.Y. The day will feature panel discussions on accessibility and disability in health care, public policy trends at the intersection of oral health and disabilities, and the personal accounts of health care providers and members of the disabilities community.

Peter J. Klein, President The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation says “recognizing and addressing the need for better oral health care for people with disabilities is a stepping stone to a greater understanding and empathy within the dental community.  By providing the opportunity for ongoing professional development and an analysis of the delivery and payment systems, we hope to increase their access to quality care.”

The second day of the event, being held at the NYU College of Dentistry in Manhattan, will feature panel discussions on the global scope of the issue and the potential impact of successful collaborations. Rabbi Kalman Samuels, founder of the Jerusalem-based Shalva Children’s Center, will serve as the day’s keynote speaker. Shalva, a non-denominational organization that provides programming and care for children and adults with disabilities, will serve as the host for PAOH’s 2018 meeting in Israel.

PAOH is also supported by the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders, Bedford Healthcare Solutions, Colgate, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation, the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the New York State Dental Association Foundation, the Pacific Dental Services Foundation, and the Special Care Dentistry Association.

For more information about PAOH, including a series of blogs and a schedule of the meeting’s featured speakers and presentations, please visit