Little girl smiles a toothy grin


InHealth: Building Solutions to Florida’s Pediatric Dental Problem

By Sarasota SCENE | 

By Dr. Kameron Hodgens, CEO, Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center

Finding the time and the sufficient funds to get dental care can be challenging for anyone. But for many families in our community who are on Medicaid or are Medicaid-eligible, it’s more than a matter of convenience; Sarasota dentists accepting Medicaid patients are few and far between.

The local barriers to early dental care persist, even though we know that it is critical to a child’s overall health. A study cited by the Florida Department of Health states that cavities and tooth decay “remain the most prevalent chronic infectious disease among young children and adolescents.” And as children become adults, poor oral health is strongly correlated to other systematic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Regrettably, Florida ranks lowest of all 50 states in getting Medicaid-enrolled children connected to preventative dental care*. However, Sarasota might be able to alleviate some of the barriers responsible for that unfortunate statistic.

For over 27 years, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center has been the only collaborative nonprofit campus in our region. Located between Newtown and the Rosemary District, the five-acre campus is home to over 17 nonprofits offering a wide variety of human services, which is why the campus is touted as a “one-stop shop”. The pediatric clinic of Sarasota County’s public health services is one of the original tenants of the campus. 

In 2013, through a collaborative effort of public and private partnerships, we built a new facility for the pediatric clinic. The Sally & Sam Shapiro Babies and Children’s Medical Center opened its doors in the summer of 2014, continuing to provide high-quality pediatric care to children and families most in need in a brand new state-of-the-art building, extending the footprint of the campus. The original concept included a dental practice, but it was eliminated during construction due to increasing costs. So, in the summer of 2017, leadership of the Center and the Health Department revisited the idea and discussed remodeling the east wing of the building to incorporate a four-chair dental clinic.

That idea is now a reality, led by gifts from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and donors. The dental clinic was completed by Tandem Construction this summer and will begin seeing patients in early fall. The space is bright and kid-friendly, accommodating any general pediatric dental need. Over 90% of the children who seek primary pediatric care at the Sally & Sam Shapiro Babies and Children’s Medical Center are Medicaid-eligible; having the dental clinic in the same building provides the perfect opportunity to offer both services in the same space to a largely underserved population. 

Preliminary local data shows that 8,696 Medicaid-eligible children ages 0-17 live in and around the zip codes of the campus. Health Department staff estimate that the new dental clinic would have capacity to serve at least 3,000 of those children annually.  

Though there is work to do from the local to the state-wide level, this pediatric dental practice on the Glasser/Schoenbaum campus will be a new key component in our comprehensive approach to providing human services—and some smiles to boot—right here in the Sarasota area.

For more information, visit

Source: “The State of Children’s Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter” PEW Charitable Trusts (2011)

Read the original article here.



left quote

Glasser/Schoenbaum is an integral part of our community. They not only provide critical commercial space for non-profits but also build networks within our community to meet the needs of our most vulnerable.

right quote
Dawn Sakes, MSW Executive Director and Mentor More Too Life
left quote

The staff at Glasser/Schoenbaum have done a great job of connecting the many organizations on campus and creating a space that sparks collaboration. This sense of community extends to staff and clients alike, helping to break down barriers and leading to innovative ways to serve the community as a whole.

right quote
Katie Becker Executive Director Parenting Matters
left quote

Real estate is one of the greatest costs in a business budget. Our partnership with The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center allows more money to go towards our mission. And what better place to house our office than on a campus with nineteen other outreach agencies.

right quote
Janet Kahn Executive Director Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County
Learn More



Peruse our newsletter archive below. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletters, with information about the campus and the community:
Read Post

Emerging Leader nominations open

Nominations for the second annual Emerging Leader Award are open. Sponsored by community advocates Bill and Barbara Little, the program selects three emerging leaders in physical, behavioral, and environmental health; […]
Read Post

Innovating Resilience

On July 27th we had coordinators Thomas Fairley and Melissa Ehrhardt come to the campus to talk with staff about their work with The American Red Cross and their new […]
Read Post

Ageless Care

The Campus of Caring has been bustling with summer events! In June, we had the privilege of hosting GS Connects events, featuring organizations dedicated to supporting individuals at different stages […]
Read Post
Connect with us image

Connect with

We appreciate your interest in our campus and the organizations that provide services here. Please make a selection below to connect with the best department. Together, we can make a difference on our community and beyond!
footer left cloud
footer left bird
footer right bird
footer right cloud
footer houses
© 2017–2024 The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center. All Rights Reserved. | Sitemap
All donations are made to The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation), and are tax deductible as provided by law. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. Our Registration is #CH1216. 100% of your contribution goes to support The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, Inc. EIN 59-2707877