Crystal Charity Ball presents school with $1.6M

April 6th, 2023

The Crystal Charity Ball check was presented to (from left) Mr. Ian Wilson, director of development, Texas A&M Foundation; Mr. Robert Bigham Jr., Baylor Oral Health Foundation president and treasurer; Dr. Alton G. McWhorter, department head of pediatric dentistry, Texas A&M School of Dentistry; Dr. Lily T. García, dean, Texas A&M School of Dentistry; Dr. Dan Burch, program director, CCHD – Special Care Dentistry, Texas A&M School of Dentistry; Mr. Neal Adams, Baylor Oral Health Foundation board chairman; and Ms. Karen Slater, assistant vice president for development, Texas A&M Foundation.

The Crystal Charity Ball presented Baylor Oral Health Foundation and Texas A&M School of Dentistry with $1.6 million Wednesday night, helping ensure a special care clinic will open on campus later this year.

Established in 1952 to aid children’s charities in Dallas County, the nonprofit group committed to work alongside the school, granting it one of its largest awards for 2022.

Dr. Dan Burch, who will oversee the new clinic and is leading the Compromised Care and Hospital Dentistry Fellowship at the school, said The Crystal Charity Ball award was remarkable.

“It was a great feeling to find out they chose to partner with us,” he said. “Every dental school should have a special care clinic or an inclusive clinic. It made me proud to know that A&M has a major part in helping this group of patients because there’s almost 300,000 of them in the Metroplex.”

Although people often associate special needs patients with special care dentistry, Burch explained it encompasses various areas. This includes hospital dentistry, disability dentistry and geriatric dentistry.

“There’s a wide range of services that special care dentistry includes,” he said. “It could be anything – from patients with intellectual delays to those with uncontrolled HIV to bariatric patients, even quadriplegic patients who are wheelchair bound and need more assistance.

“It includes a host of things that aren’t normal in a typical dental clinic.”

Burch said these patients often go without treatment or are herded to only one or two clinics in the area, putting a strain on those providers.

“Our goal is to train our students and residents to see a fair share of those patients to make it easier for those patients to have access to care and not put so much of a burden on a handful of practices across the county,” Burch said. “We’re the safety net of North Central Texas, and with there only being a handful of places for them to go, knowing the dental school can be a long-term home for them is really, really important.”

The Crystal Charity Ball award, along with a generous donation from the Hillcrest Foundation, will cover the cost of staffing the clinic and support the program in its goal to become self-sustaining in three years.

The clinic is expected to open this fall on the eighth floor of the Clinic and Education Building. The school will also continue to support special care rotations at the outside clinics.

— Kristen Tribe

You may also like
A&M leadership spotlighted at SCDA meeting