Dr. Mendicino receives Oral Public Health Award

Finger Lakes Community Health

Dr. Tony Mendicino Jr., chief dental officer at Finger Lakes Community Health (FLCH), is recognized for his dedication to improving oral health in our community.

Dr. Mendicino

PENN YAN — The New York State Oral Health Coalition recognized Dr. Tony Mendicino for his commitment to improving oral health by selecting him for The Dr. Elmer Green Oral Public Health Award. Like Dr. Green, Dr. Tony has spent his career in public health, providing better access to care for those who are uninsured, underserved, agricultural workers, and those with Medicaid – access to dental care for all.

Dr. Tony, as he is affectionally called by the Finger Lakes Community Health staff and patients, has had a special interest in developing programs for children that would make access to care easier, and educate them and their families on best practices for oral health.

He was nominated by Mary Zelazny, CEO of FLCH, which is an independent healthcare organization with eight health centers in the region. Mary has worked with Dr. Tony for more than 30 years.

“From the day he started, he has been very mission-driven and never stopped building programs and collaborating with organizations that would improve dental health in our rural community," said Zelazny. "He has always had great team spirit and a fabulous sense of humor. He was instrumental in building a portable dental program that continues to serve multiple Migrant Head Start Programs. In addition, the school-based dental program serves many public-school districts and Community Head Start Programs. Children receive dental care without leaving their schools. We are so very proud that he was chosen to receive this award. Thank you, Dr. Tony.”

The Portable Dental Program began in 1990 and still operates, bringing comprehensive dental care to rural counties. In 2010, Dr. Tony championed the tele-dental program in partnership with the Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester. The premise was to reduce the number of visits a family made to Rochester for pediatric dental care so that they only went on the actual day of treatment. This initiative has provided access to specialty dental care to over 1,100 children in the Finger Lakes and Western N.Y.

“I’m honored to be receiving this award. I want to thank my mentor Dr. Buddhi M. Shrestha for sharing his knowledge and experience with me. He was the driving force in my choice to work at a rural health center upon my return to Rochester from my residency at the Veterans Association in Buffalo. I’ve never regretted that decision. Of course, none of this could be possible without the support of my current and past staff who share my passion to improve oral care for everyone.” said Dr. Tony Mendicino, Chief Dental Officer, FLCH.

About Finger Lakes Community Health

Finger Lakes Community Health is an independent healthcare organization, founded in 1989 as a provider of healthcare for agricultural workers. Services are now expanded to provide comprehensive healthcare for everyone, with numerous health centers in the region, including Bath, Geneva, Newark, Ovid, Penn Yan, Port Byron, Sodus, and Dundee Dental.

FLCH also administers a federal migrant voucher program, one of 22 in the U.S., to provide health services to farmworkers in 42 upstate NY counties. Finger Lakes Community Health is a part of the Federally Qualified Health Center system through the federal government, receiving funds to assist uninsured patients. For more information, please visit www.LocalCommunityHealth.com.