On December 2, 2022 KOHC members and oral health stakeholders from around the state came together for the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition Annual Meeting. We kicked off the meeting by hearing from the meeting Signature Sponsor, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky 

Participants heard a presentation from JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AFAAOM, on the dental workforce shortage. JoAnn covered topics including the number of providers in the workforce before, during, and after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the reasons providers gave for leaving the workforce. JoAnn’s presentation explored the different factors impacting the dental workforce such as the pandemic, wages, employee benefits, and workplace culture. She highlighted solutions to help recruit and retain dental providers and ways to ensure the patient load is supporting the dental workforce. Coalition members discussed what they heard and how this information might shape their own practice, as well as the work of the Coalition.  

Meeting attendees also heard from Jessica Thomas, a Policy Associate with the Council of State Governments, about the development of an interstate dental compact. Jessica provided an overview of the development phases, the current status, and next steps. She discussed the benefits and potential drawbacks to dental license portability within a compact for both providers and state licensure boards.  

Alicia Whatley, Policy and Advocacy Director with Kentucky Youth Advocates, provided an overview of the projects and initiatives of the Coalition in 2023, including translation of KOHC materials for increased accessibility, monitoring implementation of expanded adult Medicaid dental benefits, and a statewide oral health landscape assessment. Alicia also facilitated voting on KOHC proposed priorities for 2023, which were approved by the Coalition, including: 

  • Protecting community water fluoridation programs 
  • Establishing a statewide tobacco retail license 
  • Supporting mental health needs of new mothers 
  • Supporting efforts to positively impact the dental workforce 

KOHC thanks everyone who attended the Annual Meeting, and we look forward to many exciting projects in 2023.  

View meeting slides