Southside PDC Secures Grant Funding for New Dental Clinic

Dental Clinic Floss Cutting Jan 2013 041"Cutting the Floss" photo courtesy of The News & RecordUntil recently, Halifax County residents had to get in line for affordable dental care. Thanks to the efforts of Halifax Regional Health Services and their partners, a new dental clinic has opened inside South Boston's Halifax Primary Care.

The need for affordable dental care was great in the Halifax region. The HRHS reported about 1,000 lower income residents annually visit the ER with dental complaints, instead of a dentist, because they couldn't afford dental care and had no dental insurance. Before the opening of the Halifax Dental Clinic only two dentists in the region were using Smiles for Children/Medicaid. Of those two, the first was not taking new patients and the second had a waiting list.

In January of 2013, a floss-cutting ceremony, in place of the traditional ribbon-cutting, inaugurated the 10,000 square foot expansion of Halifax Primary Care in South Boston's Houghton Industrial Park. This facility focuses on providing critical early prevention and dental care treatment for underprivileged children. Dr. Bridget McDowell Brown, a Halifax native, the clinic's dental director, began seeing patients on February 1. Eighty percent of her patient base is projected to be ages 21 or younger.

Deborah Gosney of Southside Planning District Commission was the point person for the PDC on this dental clinic project. Gosney, along other members of the Halifax Dental Clinic Management Team, researched the need for dental care in the Halifax region and sought and applied for grant monies to make the clinic a reality. Halifax Regional Health Services, SPDC and South Boston partnered and the Town was awarded a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Other supporters include the Virginia Tobacco Commission which contributed a $400,000 grant for equipment, and VA Healthcare Foundation which gave $150,000 for the first year's operational costs and also contributions came from: Delta Dental, Wells Fargo, Suntrust, Cap Trust, and Morgan Trust.