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Holyoke Health Center opens new pediatric dental wing

Date: 9/27/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE – A long-time addition to the Holyoke Health Center’s (HHC) main facility is now a reality.

HHC Executive Director Jay Brienes hosted the official opening of a new pediatric dental wing on Sept. 20.

“We’ve been working on this for many, many years,” he said.

He explained the clinic was part of the original plans for the conversion of the former Epstein Furniture Store, and “we had reserved space for a long time.”

The problem is that HHC didn’t have the funding to build the clinic, Brienes said. The center’s bakers urged the space be rented out to another healthcare provider and Brienes said that Gandara Center eventually became a tenant.

In 2012, though a federal grant of $2 million allowed for the construction of the clinic and Brienes said a new location for the Gandara center was found.

According to information supplied by HHC, it is the “the largest provider of oral health in the region” and has a dental staff of more than 30 people. Brienes introduced the fourth year dental students who are serving a two-year residency who will be working at the clinic.

Dr. Brent Martin, MassHealth Dental director, described the new pediatric dental clinic as “unique.”

He added, “This is fantastic.”

Martin explained that dental care is “a critical, integral part in the solution in health care in the United States.”

HHC serves more than 24,000 patients annually with primary medical, dental, and specialized programs for people living with asthma, diabetes, HIV and other chronic conditions. To learn more, go to