Dental foundation names winner of Community Commitment Award


Laura Norris. Photo via

A local dentist’s work has caught the attention of a dental foundation that serves four states.

The Delta Dental Foundation, a philanthropic organization affiliated with Delta Dental, said last month that it has given its first $25,000 Patrick P. Gribben, Jr. Community Commitment Award to Dr. Laura Norris, D.D.S. in recognition of providing dental care to children and adults in a high-needs area in Grand Rapids.

The work

Norris provides dental care services in Grand Rapids at the Ferguson Dental Center with Cherry Health.

In response to receiving the award, Norris said the support from Delta Dental Foundation will ensure people in underserved communities receive improved dental care.

Norris said that providing preventative and restorative dental services to more than 1,100 underserved children and adults each year at Cherry Health is "helping make positive strides in the health and quality of life for each patient."

“We can continue advocating for community dentistry in high-needs areas and making sure more people can receive better access to high-quality dental care,” Norris said.

Cherry Health provides a number of health care services, such as dental care, primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, vision and behavioral health.

With more than 20 locations in Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Greenville, Hastings, Charlotte, Cedar Springs and Detroit, Cherry Health focuses on improving the health and wellness of underserved patients.

Inaugural award

The Patrick P. Gribben, Jr. Community Commitment Award recognizes a person dedicating at least one year to address the dental services needs in underserved communities upon completion of educational and licensure requirements.

Norris was selected as the recipient of the $25,000 award by the University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty, based on her commitment to provide dental services at the Federally Qualified Health Center for two years.

Teri Battaglieri, director of Delta Dental Foundation, said the organization is proud to award Norris the new community commitment award in recognition of her efforts to improve access to dental care.

“This award recognizes her dedication to increasing access to care in a community where children and adults might not otherwise be able to receive the dental care they need,” Battaglieri said.

The award is named after Patrick P. Gribben, Jr., who served as president and CEO of Delta Dental of Michigan for roughly 25 years before serving as president of the Delta Dental Fund. The Delta Dental Fund was re-named as Delta Dental Foundation and provides close to $17 million in grants to organizations providing dental care for underserved individuals. 

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