News Release

New Haven Community Health Center Awarded Technology Grant to Integrate Medical and Dental Care

Foundation Awards Over $675,000 to Nonprofits to Improve Health in Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT –  Fair Haven Community Health Center (FHCHC), a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that serves a client base that is 71% Latino/a and 15% African-American at two locations in New Haven, recently received a two year $109,000 grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health).

The grant will enable FCHC to develop medical-dental integration leadership and information technology capacity.  Because the health of one’s teeth can affect one’s physical health and vice versa (e.g., dental decay can complicate heart conditions and pregnancy; type II diabetes is associated with gum disease), the grant will foster champions for medical and dental provider coordination.  At the technology level, a barrier to integration has been that electronic medical and dental records have not been readily interoperable (e.g., medical records use diagnostic codes when dental records use billing codes) necessitating both short and long term solutions that the funding will support.

The grant is the second of its kind.  The Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, also based in New Haven, was awarded a two year $125,000 grant under the same funding opportunity in the previous grant quarter.  Both grantees were selected because they demonstrated vision and capacity to be integration early adopters.  It is hoped that lessons and practices will emerge that can be shared with other community health centers in Connecticut.

Fair Haven Community Health Center CEO, Suzanne Lagarde, MD, MBA, FACP, stated “Our oral health program was started less than 2 years ago and this funding will provide critical support needed to help us integrate our electronic dental and medical records.  Ensuring that providers have ready access to all aspects of a patient’s health history — both medical and dental — has been clearly shown to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.”

“Federally qualified health centers are ideal partners as we work to cross the medical-dental divide for communities that experience health inequities,” said Tiffany Donelson, vice president of program with the foundation.  “FQHCs provide high quality medical and dental services, but co-location is not the same as integration.  CT Health believes health information technology, when used well, is part of the solution,” added Donelson.


  • Access Health CT (Hartford, statewide reach) was awarded a one year $82,000 grant to commission a study of provider network adequacy and consumer experience.
  • United Connecticut Action for Neighborhoods (UCAN) (Hartford) was awarded a one year $50,000 general operating support grant to support UCAN’s participation as a consumer advocate in the State Innovation Model initiative, and the health care organizing of the UCAN’s Caring Families Coalition.


  • Community Action Agency of New Haven, Inc. was awarded a six month $15,000 grant to survey a cross-section of clients to assess their health insurance utilization.
  • Connecticut Citizens Research Group (Hartford, project focused in Waterbury and Eastern Connecticut) was awarded a one year $20,000 grant to work with community-based organizations to mitigate the loss of Medicaid eligibility for adults affected by a 2015 policy change. The project will also involve advocacy for policy options for stable, affordable coverage.
  • Cross Street Training and Academic Center (Middletown, project focused on Middletown and New Britain) was awarded a nine month $25,000 grant to partner with the state African-American Affairs Commission, the North Central Regional Mental Health Board, and the Ministerial Alliance of New Britain and Middletown to increase Affordable Care Act knowledge and enrollment among African-Americans by cultivating pastor advocates and ministerial leaders.
  • Latino Community Services (Hartford) was awarded a nine month $25,000 grant to study the feasibility of evolving the agency from an HIV/AIDS service provider to a clinical and social services provider. The study will include organizational structure, financial modeling, and technology requirements.
  • University of Connecticut Health Center, Area Health Education Center (Farmington, statewide reach) was awarded a one year $24,900 grant to augment resources and support for the Community Health Worker (CHW) advisory committee of Connecticut’s State Innovation Model grant. The funding will support skilled meeting facilitation, as well as stipends and supports that enable CHWs to overcome barriers to participation.
  • Upper Room Unlimited (URU), The Right to Be, Inc. (New Haven) was awarded a six month $25,000 grant to pilot a “Residency Day” youth engagement program in four New Haven schools. Building on URU’s documentary “Changing the Face of Medicine,” Residency Day will link medical residents and students in order to cultivate the next generation of physicians of color.

About the Connecticut Health Foundation

The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Since it was established in 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grantmaking, public policy research technical assistance and convening to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut. Over the past 17 years, CT Health has awarded grants totaling close to $59 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.

In 2013, CT Health announced a five-year strategic plan that made expanding health equity the foundation’s central focus. For CT Health, health equity means helping more people gain access to better care, especially people of color and underserved populations. Better care includes physical, mental, and oral health.

For more information about the foundation, please visit or contact vice president of policy and communications, Elizabeth Krause, at or 860.724.1580, ext. 14.