Kentucky Oral Health Coalition members and oral health stakeholders from across the state convened virtually and in-person for the 2021 Kentucky Oral Health Coalition annual meeting on Friday, December 17. We kicked off the meeting with a welcome from Mahak Kalra, Chief Policy and Advocacy Director at Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA).

The meeting featured an outstanding national speaker, Dr. Carlos S. Smith, DDS, MDiv, FACD – Associate Professor of Dental Public Health and Policy, Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and Director of Ethics at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. Dr. Smith provided a keynote address titled Advancing Towards True Health Equity: A History of Racism in Healthcare.

Randy Craft, Community Development Coordinator with Advent Health, provided a spotlight presentation on the Southeastern Kentucky Oral Health Coalition. Randy provided information on the purpose of the Coalition, new educational resource flyers available, upcoming oral health campaigns and events, and how to get involved.

Alicia Whatley, Policy and Advocacy Analyst at KYA, presented legislative and budget policies of interest to KOHC members. KOHC is supportive of the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children health policy and budget priorities, including allowing local and county governments to make decisions about tobacco control measures to curb youth use, investing in and protecting home-visitation and safety net programs, investing in the education and well-being of every student, and ensuring children and families continue to access the health care and services they need with sustained funding in Medicaid and KCHIP. KOHC is also supportive of maintaining community water fluoridation programs in Kentucky. Learn more about the 2022 Blueprint agenda and find resources. We also heard from KYA’s Engagement Coordinator, Melissa Collins, about ways to engage with the Coalition, including the upcoming Children’s Advocacy Week and how advocates can get involved.

KOHC steering committee chair, Dr. Stephanie Poynter, presented proposed changed to the KOHC membership tiers, including a new small business option for dental offices. Dr. Poynter outlined the cost, benefits, and voting procedures for each proposed membership level.

Mahak Kalra facilitated member voting to establish the policy priorities the Coalition will support in 2022 and to approve the KOHC membership structural changes.

Thank you to CareQuest Institute for Oral Health for their support of this annual meeting!

View a video recording of the annual meeting and slides.