Delta Dental Prioritizes Oral Health and Community Engagement in CT
Delta Dental of Connecticut has been offering dental insurance in Connecticut for 30 years. The organization promotes oral health and access to oral health through its Delta Dental Foundation and through corporate sponsorships and partnerships.
In recognition of February Children’s Dental Health Month, MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Randy Stodard, Chief Marketing Officer at Delta Dental of New Jersey and Delta Dental of Connecticut and Dr. Gene Napoliello, Chairman of the Delta Dental Foundation to learn more about the organization’s impact in our region.
NAN PRICE: First off, tell us about how your partnership with the MHA benefits your organization.
RANDY: Being a part of the community is incredibly important to us. The MHA does such good things through its subsidiaries—the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut Health Council, and Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services (CT IFS). We’re involved in all those organizations.
Our involvement with the MHA helps us get our word out to many different folks in the state of Connecticut. We want people to know affordable dental healthcare is out there and available—regardless of whether they’re able to pay for it.
NAN PRICE: In what other ways is Delta Dental involved in the Hartford Region?
RANDY STODARD: We’re involved with multiple organizations in Connecticut, including the Urban League Greater Hartford, where this year, we’ve donated funds and helped with their job readiness program. With the Hartford Boys & Girls Club, we’ve been involved in their Smart Girls Luncheon for a few years and we’re currently working on a Power Hour session with an oral health theme to connect with Children’s Dental Health Month.
Our team is also responsible for managing the Delta Dental Foundation. We handle a very extensive grant process and manage our Foundation’s activities and outreach. Part of our process is to seek out organizations in Connecticut we think would be good candidates for a grant based on the work they’re doing, such as children’s hospitals or clinics. From my perspective, that’s our big connection in Connecticut.
GENE NAPOLIELLO: The Delta Dental Foundation has programs all over Connecticut, including the Fones School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Bridgeport, which is the world’s first dental hygiene school. The Foundation has donated several grants to that school over the years, including the Senior Smiles program, which enables low-income patients 65 and over to receive free basic dental care beyond a cleaning, such as fillings, extractions, or dentures and partial plates.
That’s very important because seniors are one of the four main groups we take under our wing and fund because we consider them very vulnerable populations that can’t advocate for themselves. The other three groups are veterans, the disabled covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, and children.
RANDY: In addition to our Foundation, we do a lot of sponsorships. We try to focus most of them through local business organizations, like the Stamford Chamber of Commerce, where I’m a Board member. We also sponsor health-oriented events, like the Hartford Marathon and the Manchester Road Race.
NAN: Dr. Gene, can you tell us a little about the volunteer work you do in the region?
GENE: Our Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to establish funds for people who are less fortunate than us. We’re charitable—and you have to have a charitable heart to give to others.
I credit my hardworking parents with instilling the concept of giving back. I always saw them giving to everybody else. That’s where I picked up the need to serve others. It can be fun. The joy of giving somehow helps you feel at peace—especially recently with all the challenges in the world.
Photo: Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut volunteers (Dr. Gene Napoliello far left, in lab coat).