CARES logo image.
Female Patient listening to SDM staff member image.

The CARES Program (Counseling, Advocacy, Referral, Education and Service), a nationally recognized collaboration between the University at Buffalo Schools of Dental Medicine and Social Work, was created in 2001 as an innovative solution to reduce barriers to accessing  oral health care faced by a diverse population in Western New York.

Oral health is integral to patients’ overall physical, mental, and emotional health, and well-being.  While the UB School of Dental Medicine offers dental services, it also recognizes and teaches the importance of wholistic health in fulfilling our patients’ needs.  The CARES Program is a partner in carrying out this mission.

COVID-19 Resources for SDM Patients

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Helping Patients Get The Resources They Need

The CARES Program continues to expand in new directions while maintaining these primary objectives:

1.  To overcome barriers to accessing quality oral health care

2.  To facilitate the interprofessional education of DDS and MSW students in the treatment of UB Dental patients

3.  To provide patient counseling and education regarding health, and other behaviors to promote wellness

4.  To link patients to community resources and provide advocacy so they can best utilize them

5.  To collaborate with other UB Dental resources in meeting the CARES Program goals and objectives

6.  To foster community partnerships in order to address a diverse array of patient needs

The CARES Program achieves these objectives by helping School of Dental Medicine patients with:

1.  Financing dental treatments

2.  Transportation to and from dental appointments

3.  Interpreter services

4.  Access to health care

5.  Mental health support

6.  Housing

7.   Employment

8.   Family concerns (Safety, death, divorce, caregiving, etc.)

9.   Alcohol, tobacco or other drug cessation

Led by an experienced licensed Social Worker, the CARES Team consists of social workers and social work students working alongside dental faculty, residents, students and staff.  CARES Team members work with patients to identify their concerns, and then provide education and linkage to community resources to address them.

Expanding the Dental Curriculum

In addition to assisting patients, an emphasis is placed on expanding the dental curriculum to formally address biopsychosocial concerns that influence the overall well-being of patients. Classroom-based, interactional, and clinical educational interventions offered through community outreach events have been developed to enhance dental students' awareness about health and social needs.

Additional Resources

NY Connects

NY Connects is your trusted place to go for free, unbiased information about long-term services and supports in New York State for people of all ages or with any type of disability.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P)

SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.  Click here

NY State of Health – The Official Health Plan Marketplace

Compare health plan options and apply for assistance that could lower the cost of your health coverage. You may also qualify for health care coverage from Medicaid or Child Health Plus through the Marketplace. Anyone can apply here

Heating Energy Assistance Program (H.E.A.P)

New Yorkers can apply for heating and cooling assistance under the Home Energy Assistance Program.  Click here

Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)

The SSA is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. Apply for Medicare here

Erie County Department of Health (E.C.D.O.H.)

For more information about different programs throughout Erie County and information on health-related topics visit the E.C.D.O.H.  Click here.

Niagara County Department of Health

For more information about different services throughout Niagara County and information on health-related topics visit the Niagara County Department of Health Website.  Click here.