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Access to dental care when you are poor

Access to dental care when you are poor

Picture of Mary Otto

It has been more than three years since my first report on the death of a homeless Maryland boy from complications of an untreated dental infection was published in The Washington Post.  It was challenging and heartbreaking to write about the death of that gentle boy who I had gotten to know, along with his struggling mother in the last weeks of his life. Yet for me, the larger challenge of understanding the broken oral health care system in Maryland only began with that story. In spite of other journalistic responsibilities, writing about dental care, and the lack of it, has been a subject that has haunted and preoccupied me, as a reporter and writer, ever since.  I am deeply grateful to have been chosen for a National Health Journalism Fellowship and a grant from the Dennis Hunt Fund. The support of these wonderful programs, and the insight and friendship I found during my week in Los Angeles, will help me to explore and document what went wrong with the oral health care system in Maryland and what is being done to change it.

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