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Free Clinic for New York City Teens Offers Dental and Optical Services at Mt. Sinai Medical Canter

At risk teens in New York City will be able to use a free walk-in clinic for optical and dental services at Mt. Sinai Adolescent Center, located in Mt. Sinai Hospital beginning May 2010.
    NEW YORK, January 25, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New York State and City legislators will gather at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center Friday, January 29, at 8:30 a.m. to tour the Center's expanded facility and new optical and dental suites. Among the legislators expected are New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, State Assemblyman Micah Kellner, and New York City Council member Daniel R. Garodnick, in whose district the Center is located. Garodnick has supported the Center's plan to build the clinics.

The new clinical suites, which are slated to open around May 2010 will provide free dental and optical care to cover 4,000 patient visits for New York City adolescents who otherwise would not receive treatment. Prevention and treatment services will be available by appointment or on a walk in basis to accommodate the difficulty at-risk adolescents have in keeping scheduled appointments. Outreach will be coordinated with NYC public schools and the Center's school based facilities.

The new clinics were conceived to fill gaps in critical dental and optical services for New York's underserved adolescents. The City's elimination the Oral Health Program's free dental clinics has increased the need for free dental services. Untreated tooth decay has a direct negative impact on overall wellness and ability to function. Nationally, an estimated 25% of youth suffer from it. Among inner city youth, the percentage is higher.

Similarly, children in poor urban environments have been found to have twice the normal rate of vision problems as other youth and face greater barriers to receiving vision care. (It is estimated that in the US 24% of 12-17 year olds have some type of vision problem.) Research suggests that vision problems and academic achievement are linked, highlighting the need to deliver adequate eye care to York City's disadvantaged youth.

Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center currently provides comprehensive medical and mental health services each year to more than 10,000 of the city's most vulnerable adolescents, ages 10 to 22, regardless of their ability to pay. The Center's work has resulted in lowered rates of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and untreated mental health issues and learning differences.

"When we provide adolescents with health services designed specifically for them we get them to care deeply about their own health. Ensuring a healthy present and future and the ability to meet their tremendous promise," said Angela Diaz, MD, MPH, Director of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. "We must address the real risks that adolescents face and the dreadful lack of access to services, which is a crisis for kids today. We have much to do to remedy this situation."

Founded in 1968, the Center is a major training site for health professionals in adolescent health and the Center's staff participates in research and disseminates information geared toward policy making, health promotion, and the treatment and prevention of disease in adolescents. The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center is located at 312 East 94th Street.

About the Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses the Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.

For more information: Contact Ken Peake 212.423 2900
ken.peake@mountsinai.org

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