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Philanthropic Contributions Approach $1 Million for Group of Delta Dental Companies in 2006.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Delta Dental of California, Pennsylvania and affiliates in 16 states plus the District of Columbia announced today that its 2006 contributions in support of dental education, community dental outreach and dental research reached a record $930,000.

Company officials said the largest portion of the contributions, about $460,000, was committed over the course of the year to various dental schools and students across the country. A scholarship program for Hispanic students was among the new programs launched this year, directing $30,000 to students ($10,000 each) at three different California dental schools. Next year, the program expands to include students in Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, with each student to receive up to $40,000 toward the cost of their dental education.

"Scholarships are an ideal way to nurture careers in dentistry that we hope will create greater access to care for those with unmet dental needs," said Gary D. Radine, president and CEO of the holding company system that includes all the affected Delta Dental companies. "We are especially pleased to have partnered this year with the Hispanic Dental Association, whose objectives toward this end are aligned with ours."

Delta Dental and its affiliates also directed nearly $370,000 this year to dental clinics and for community dental outreach organizations across the country that provide services to those who lack access to affordable care -- predominantly low-income, working families.

"We continue to focus on those who can't afford dental coverage to address the disparities in our country in terms of who gets the dental care they need," said Marilynn Belek, DMD, executive vice president and chief dental officer. "By offering grants to those clinics already serving those in the greatest need, we increase many a deserving family's chance to receive care that otherwise would not have been delivered."

In the area of dental research, Delta Dental awarded a grant of $75,000 this year to support an important new evidence-based dentistry study by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Florida. The study involves testing the effectiveness of an anti-microbial peptide to reduce streptococcus mutans, the cause of tooth decay, in elderly control and study groups. Delta Dental also continued to participate in an important five-year smoking cessation study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania and their affiliates are part of a San Francisco-based holding company with an estimated 21 million enrollees nationwide. They are also all part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation's largest dental benefits system, whose nationwide programs cover more than 46 million of the approximately 162 million individuals with dental benefits.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 21, 2006
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