New Dental Clinic Opens to Serve Alachua County Residents

  • <p>Southwest Dental Clinic, part of Florida Department of Health in Alachua County’s Dental Emergency Department Diversion Program, offers Gainesville families new option for care</p>
  • <p>Funded by a $1.85 million grant by United Health Foundation</p>

Families in Alachua County have a new option for oral health services with the official opening of the Southwest Dental Clinic, located in the Linton Oaks neighborhood, by the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

Public officials, University of Florida College of Dentistry representatives, community leaders and residents toured the new facility, which is funded by a $1.85 million grant from United Health Foundation.

The Southwest Dental Clinic is part of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County’s Dental Emergency Department Diversion Program. The program aims to improve access to oral health care for Alachua County residents, who now will have an alternative for services instead of going to the emergency room for unmet dental care needs.

“We are thrilled to receive United Health Foundation’s support in opening the Southwest Dental Clinic,” said Paul Myers, administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. “Through this generous grant, we are able to provide the Gainesville community with the necessary services to deliver quality and effective care.”

The Southwest Dental Clinic will provide preventive and restorative dental care such as examinations, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatment, fillings and tooth extractions.   

“United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support the Southwest Dental Clinic, working with organizations such as the Florida Department of Health to provide greater access to quality dental care for the people of Alachua County,” said Michael Lawton, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Florida.

A lack of dental care for low-income Americans has long put stress on hospital emergency rooms, according to a recent study published by Health Affairs. As of January 2013, about 45 million Americans were living in rural and urban regions with shortages of dental care providers.

The grant to support the dental clinic is part of United Health Foundation’s “Helping Build Healthier Communities” program that is providing critical resources to organizations across the country to improve people’s health. The grant will be administered by the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County over a three-year period.  

“The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners recognizes the importance of access to public health dental services,” said Charles “Chuck” Chestnut IV, chair of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. “The significant funding United Health Foundation has provided to our county health department will secure access to services that are in great demand.”

The Dental Diversion program will be implemented in coordination with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County’s Southwest Health Clinic. Success measures will include improvement in access to preventive and restorative dental care, and reduction in health care costs.

About the Florida Department of Health – Alachua County
The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County works on a daily basis to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.  Our vision is to be the healthiest state in the nation and we are guided by our core values of innovation, collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and excellence (I.C.A.R.E.).

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at