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McGovern Applauds Partnership between QCC and CMAA

Innovative Dental Program Supports Area’s Diverse Senior Population

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu
 

Release Date: 
11/10/2021

WORCESTER, MA—November 10, 2021 — Today, a new partnership was announced between Quinsigamond Community College and the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging (CMAA) to offer free preventative dental care to seniors 55 and older in the Central Massachusetts region.

The announcement was made at an event held at QCC, which featured Congressman James McGovern, QCC President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, Dr. Moses S. Dixon, QCC’s Dental Clinic Operations and Facilities Manager Sheryl Ficorilli, QCC Dental Hygiene Professor Jane Gauthier, and QCC Dental Hygiene student Jade Chaves.

“It's a pleasure to be with you today to announce the new partnership between Quinsigamond Community College and the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, which will expand access to dental care for low income seniors here in Worcester,” Congressman McGovern said, noting the invaluable resource QCC is to the region. “Everybody in our community has an opportunity to get a first-class education, whether it's about what we're talking about here today, this is not just a college, this is very much a part of our community. I think I speak for everybody here in the City and in the region when I say thank you, thank you for caring about all of us here today.”

The new Central Massachusetts Senior Dental Clinic will provide free preventative dental services that include cleanings, assessments, x-rays and fluoride treatment. Worcester’s Yellow Cab has also agreed to partner with QCC and CMAA to provide transportation to and from dental appointments, as transportation can be an issue for seniors who are unable to get to the Clinic.  Congressman McGovern was instrumental in helping obtain $60,000 in funding for the senior dental program through the American Rescue Plan Act, and QCC will provide a 50% match to cover the Clinic’s operating costs during appointments.

 “Older Americans, particularly low income, underserved seniors, often lack access to dental care. Thanks to this partnership with the CMAA, we are helping to provide equitable access to important dental care for this vulnerable population, as well as enabling our dental hygiene students to become better prepared to care for senior patients when they enter the workforce,” President Pedraja said.

Congressman McGovern was quick to also note the longstanding commitment the CMAA and Dr. Dixon have on equity, justice and fairness, and making sure that nobody, especially our seniors, get left behind.

 “Our senior citizens have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 in all aspects of their life. Now that we are emerging out of the pandemic, one of the greatest challenges facing our seniors is the lack of accessible and affordable dental care and treatment,” said Dr. Dixon. “I truly believe this new partnership between the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging and Quinsigamond Community College will be a model for the nation on how to provide affordable and accessible dental care to older adults.”

QCC Dental Hygiene student Jade Chaves described the positive benefits this program will have on the hygiene students.

“Being able to care for more senior patients in the clinic, will allow the students to gain experience with more complex oral health conditions. Having this experience will set us up for success in our careers long after we graduate,” Ms. Chaves said.

It is anticipated that the funding will allow approximately 2,000 seniors to be served over the next three years.

“This partnership will provide access to critical dental care for seniors here in Central Mass, which is all too often pushed to the back of the priority list due to costs and lack of transportation, leaving many of them to skip it all together. So I'm thrilled that the funds for the American Rescue Plan will build on the great dental care being provided here at QCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic,” Congressman McGovern said. “And, before I go, I just want to thank all the dental professionals and students who are going to provide these vital services, your work is going to make a huge difference for seniors across the region and I can't thank you enough, I mean this is a big deal.”

For more information about QCC, contact Karen Hutner, Interim Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.2842 or khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.

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