Yankees' Alex Rodriguez Helps Boost Dental Health in Upper Manhattan With $250K Gift

July 27, 2009Bookmark and Share

Hundreds of children joined Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez to celebrate the opening of the new Columbia University College of Dental Medicine mobile dental van, which will provide much-needed services to the Washington Heights community and other neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez talks about the importance of oral health care for children. (0:59)

At the event, Rodriguez announced his $250,000 donation to support Columbia’s Community DentCare programs throughout New York City.

"A winning smile builds confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime," Rodriguez said. "Every child deserves access to regular dental visits and it is reassuring to know that this new dental van will serve nearly 3,000 children in the community where I was born and its surrounding neighborhoods."
Failure to prevent dental diseases among children can affect school attendance. It is estimated that more than 50 million school hours are lost nationally each year due to dental-related illness, according to the American Dental Association.
“That loss could be sharply reduced with timely receipt of preventive services, and is part of the reason why Alex Rodriguez’ gift, which will be used to expand access to oral health care for children, is so deeply appreciated,” said Dr. Stephen Marshall, associate dean for extramural programs at the College of Dental Medicine and director of the DentCare program.

Community DentCare currently operates programs in seven schools throughout Northern Manhattan, providing health education, preventive care and comprehensive care to children. The new mobile dental van will travel to 65 different locations including head starts, public schools and daycare centers located throughout Washington Heights/Inwood, Harlem, and the Bronx.