Four Sonoma County health centers get funds for dental services

Community health centers in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Ukiah and Healdsburg were awarded a total of $1.6 million to help expand much needed dental health services, the federal government announced Thursday.

The funds will primarily be used to hire full-time dentists at existing and planned dental facilities. For example, MCHC Health Centers was awarded nearly $525,000 over an 18-month period to pay for two full-time dentists and support staff at a new clinic planned for Ukiah.

“Our capacity isn’t meeting the need,” said Carole Press, CEO of MCHC Health Centers in Ukiah. “We’re having issues with getting people in in a timely manner.”

Press said MCHC’s existing dental clinic in Ukiah provides 30,000 patient visits to about 12,000 patients a year. A new smaller dental clinic, currently being designed, is expected to serve about 1,200 existing patients and another 800 new patients, Press said.

The funds were among $24,127,657 given to health centers in California and $156 million nationwide by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

The Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, the Petaluma Health Center and the Alliance Medical Center in Healdsburg were each awarded grants of $350,000.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at (707) 521-5213 or On Twitter @renofish.

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