Mission Statement

Improve the oral health of all people of Kentucky

Vision Statement

Kentucky’s Vision of Impact is to engage partners across the state to create a collaborative oral health network designed to:

  • Educate parents
  • Activate policymakers
  • Inspire and engage professionals to create optimal oral health for all.

History

In 1990, a collaborative effort formed between the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry known as the Kentucky Oral Health Consortium. The Consortium, eventually renamed the Kentucky Dental Health Coalition, was involved in numerous oral health promotion projects such as the development of the Kentucky Smile Curriculum which is still used by Kentucky school teachers, active legislative advocacy, the National Governor’s Association Policy Academy on Children’s Oral Health (2001), the Kentucky Oral Health Surveys (for children, adults, elders 2001-2003) and many more.

While the Coalition became inactive in 2006, a steering committee of diverse stakeholders came together in 2010 to plan for the reinvigoration of the Coalition. Now called the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition (KOHC), the newly revitalized group is staffed by Kentucky Youth Advocates. The first coalition meeting held in March 2012 had over 70 in attendance. The group is moving forward to tackle key priorities and make a true impact in Kentucky.

Priorities Through 2021

Expand school-based oral health services

Improve oral health awareness

Increase access to oral health care

Priorities Through 2021

Expand school-based oral health services

Improve oral health awareness

Increase access to oral health care

Steering Committee

Dr Stephanie Poynter
Dr Stephanie Poynter

Chair of KOHC: Dr. Stephanie Poynter

Dr. Stephanie Poynter is a general dentist who graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1998. Dr. Poynter completed a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the University of Louisville in 1999. She has worked in public health for almost 18 years. She is the dental director at Family Health Centers, Inc, a federally qualified community health center with 3 dental offices in Louisville serving homeless, immigrant, and urban populations. Dr. Poynter is committed to improving access to dental services for all patients. She is from Louisville but enjoys water skiing in the summers in Taylor County with her husband and son.

Jennifer Hasch BS RDH
Jennifer Hasch BS RDH

Jennifer Hasch, BS, RDH

Jennifer Hasch is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, Dental Hygiene Program. As a student, she became passionate about access to care and public health dentistry within Kentucky. She has participated in foreign dental missions and recognizes the global similarities to Kentucky’s poorest populations. Jennifer is currently working as the Dental Director for Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center where she leads their fixed location and a school based dental program in 10 JCPS schools. She is a graduate student studying Public Health and Non-Profit Management at Western Kentucky University. She believes oral health outcomes cannot be improved without an equity and social justice framework. Born and raised in Louisville, she is a second-generation University of Louisville graduate and a Cardinal fan through and through.

Dr Julie Watts McKee
Dr Julie Watts McKee

Dr. Julie Watts McKee, State Dental Director

Dr. Julie Watts McKee received a degree in biology from the University of Kentucky, and a dental degree from the University of Louisville in 1983. She practiced general dentistry for 10 years in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, worked in state government, focusing on health care policy and regulation, and managed a district health department north of Lexington for 12 years. She has held the position of State Dental Director since 2007.

Featured projects Dr. McKee has worked on include establishing Fluoride Varnish Programs in health departments, overseeing the General Dentists Training in Pediatric technique, working with funded local oral health coalitions.

She worked to develop a new licensure category, Public Health Dental Hygienist, and the seven programs implemented because of this practice change.

Dr. McKee facilitated the development of the Strategic Plan for Oral Health and led a multidisciplinary group to develop and distribute Kentucky’s Plan for Dentists to Return to Work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She was awarded the Presidential Award of the Kentucky Dental Association in Fall 2020.

Being a graduate of both basketball powerhouses, she cheers for both UK and UofL in sports, but when they play each other, she wears purple!

Leah Smothers RDH
Leah Smothers RDH

Leah Smothers, RDH 

Leah has been a Registered Dental Hygienist for over 15 years. She is currently employed as a Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist at the Purchase District Health Department. For the past two years, she has managed their Floss and Gloss portable Dental Program.  The Floss and Gloss program provides preventative dental services in the school setting for grades K-12. 

Leah establishes, integrates, and promotes a mutual vision for the Floss and Gloss Program through collaboration with her Floss and Gloss teammates, Purchase District Health Department staff, FRYSC coordinators, and school nurses.  Leah is striving to incorporate teledentistry into the program with the help of Mouthwatch Teledent Software and equipment. 

Leah has also been a CE provider to dental professionals, nurses, and FRYSC’s, including speaking at the ADHA 2020 National Convention. She has served in her local component as the CE Coordinator, Trustee, and President.  Leah also served as the voting delegate for her component at KYDHA. 

Dr Pam Stein VanArsdall DMD
Dr Pam Stein VanArsdall DMD

Dr. Pam Stein VanArsdall, DMD

Dr. Pam VanArsdall is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry and the Education Director of the grant Eradicate Oral Cancer in Eastern Kentucky. Following graduation from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 1990, she practiced dentistry in Carlisle and Mt. Olivet, Kentucky. In 2003, she became a full-time faculty member at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine teaching and conducting research. After earning her master’s in public health, Dr. VanArsdall joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in the Division of Public Health. She is the past Academic Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. Dr. VanArsdall’s teaching, research and service have focused on health behaviors and prevention. She has published funded research in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the Journal of Dental Research, and the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. She has a holistic approach to health. She is a certified health and wellness coach and trained in professional plant based culinary arts.

Dr Justin Whitney DMD
Dr Justin Whitney DMD

Dr. Justin Whitney, DMD

Dr. Justin Whitney is Assistant Professor of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Following graduation from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 2011, he served as a dentist for a Federally Qualified Health Center in San Antonio, TX. During his five years in Texas, he held positions of staff dentist, interim dental director, and Chief Dental Officer for the second largest health center in Texas. Having a deep love for his home state, Dr. Whitney returned home to live in his wife’s hometown of Louisville while practicing in southern Indiana for nearly three years. He was then offered the opportunity to transition into academics, having an intriguing background of public service and private practice. A native of Greenville, KY, he now resides in Crestwood, KY with his wife and three children. Dr. Whitney considers it his mission to help those in need and to educate the next generation of dentists.

Our Networks : National Oral Health Resources