Kentucky Oral Health Coalition members and oral health stakeholders from across the state convened virtually for the September Quarterly meeting on Friday, September 23. We kicked off the meeting with an introduction of a new KOHC staff member, Linda Stettenbenz.
Dr. Wanda Gonsalves, founder and director of the Undergraduate Pre-Medical Academy at Kentucky State University, presented to the group on medical-dental integration efforts in Kentucky and the connection to health equity. Dr. Gonsalves shared about her role as the Kentucky Champion in the 100 Million Mouths Campaign, an effort to improve medical school curriculum to include more oral health information and better equip future medical professionals to recognize needs and address oral health in their patients’ care. She also discussed the importance of both health and oral health professionals working together to advance health equity by increasing access to care and integrating medical and dental care efforts. Dr. Gonsalves also engaged the group in discussing steps that can be taken to advance these efforts, including policy changes, such as increased Medicaid reimbursement rates and strengthening education programs to include more diverse applicants and students.
Participants heard from Kelsey Dimar, Chief Process Officer at Kentucky Youth Advocates, about the continued partnership between KOHC, Delta Dental of Kentucky, and the Face It Movement to engage oral health professionals in keeping kids safe. She provided updates about the upcoming TEN-4 Week in October, including a training on Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (PAHT) specialized for oral health professionals, on October 7th at 10:00am ET. Kelsey also shared the work KOHC will be doing over the next year to develop a next level training to build on the PAHT for oral health professionals.
KOHC members Dr. Chris Casterline and Leah Smothers shared updates from their programs with participants. Dr. Casterline, a dentist with HealthFirst Bluegrass, highlighted their integrated health model and the ways they use their oral health staff and Community Health Workers to meet the needs of their patients, focusing on examples in maternal health and mental health integration. Leah, Floss and Gloss Program Manager, shared the recent update to their program to include SDF application in school settings and outcomes of this work.
Participants heard from Alicia Whatley, Policy and Advocacy Director with Kentucky Youth Advocates, about the candidate policies for KOHC’s agenda in 2023 including a focus on addressing mental health, maternal health, and youth tobacco prevention. She also shared the recent efforts to create an interstate dental compact to allow for license portability for dentists and hygienists. KOHC welcomes all members and stakeholders to share additional policy priorities for consideration by the full Coalition.
Finally, KOHC members voted on and passed the following items:
- Updating the KOHC bylaws to reflect changes to membership structure, Coalition workgroup formation, and virtual meeting flexibility
- Formalizing the Coalition’s priorities for the next three years, through 2025, as:
- Improving oral health awareness and literacy
- Increasing access to oral health care
The September Quarterly meeting slides can be viewed here.