Dental SPNS - DOCS Project
There are significant numbers of HIV positive people who experience barriers to comprehensive oral health care services. These barriers and the subsequent unmet oral health needs can have an adverse impact on the quality of life for those living with HIV, particularly with regard to treatment regimens, nutritional intake and health outcomes.
DOCS is the East Texas Dental/Oral Care Services Project, which focused on developing an effective model for the delivery of dental/oral health care services to HIV-infected persons. SHRT, in partnership with Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, offered expanded oral health care including specialty dentistry and hygeine services on-site in rural East Texas. This helped patients avoid the need to travel 6 hours round trip to Dallas, TX. There are 2 operatories in Texarkana, 2 operatories in Tyler and 3 operatories in Longview – an overall increase of 4 operatories. All dental operatories are located where medical care is also provided.
Special Health Resources for Texas, Inc. was chosen to participate in the HIV Oral Health Initiative. This Project was a 5-year multi-site research effort funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – Division of HIV/AIDS Bureau – Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS). Stephen F. Austin State University served as the local Evaluation Team in collaboration with SHRT.
Throughout the country, many agencies applied for this grant, with only 15 being chosen to participate in the study. Special Health Resources had the privilege of being one of them. The Project is now complete and Special Helath Resources was one of the top three agencies to provide care. There are multiple articles still being written about the program and the staff of this program have been leaders in those articles and presentations. The work done on this grant has helped to set the standards across the country, for how Dental care should be provided to people with HIV/AIDS.