For the last few weeks, the Kentucky Oral Health coalition has highlighted three Bright Spots in Kentucky that improve oral health literacy, deliver school-based services, or improve access to care within the state. Today, we celebrate Madison County Health Department (MCHD), the Bright Spots committee’s 4th and final nomination of the year. MCHD was created to bring dental health to students in Madison County Schools. Marsha Deaton, the creator of this nominated Bright Spot program, has expanded the program over the past ten years.

Mission/Vision: MCHD created and implemented a program to bring dental health to the students in Madison County Schools.  Working with preschool, kindergarten, second, third, and fifth grades, the program is free to any student. The program has since expanded and helped create the guidelines for Public Health Hygienists in Kentucky in the time since.

Most Compelling Data: Every student receives a referral for care and for students with dental needs we make a minimum of three attempts to contact the family to ensure they are aware of the need as well as assisting the family in obtaining care. The number of fluoride varnishes that we do for Head Start, Pre-School, and Kindergarten students is also important, last year we did 2,446. The earlier we can provide intervention, the better our outcomes (especially in high-risk populations). Finally, the number of sealants we have placed is important; last year we placed 2,823 sealants. For many students, we are their dental home. If we can give them an edge in preventing decay, even on four teeth, it’s a positive. The total costs of services last year were $60,903.

Area Served: Madison County

Community Partners: Local Rotary Club

Lisa Gay, South Madison Family Resource, says “In Madison County, we are so fortunate to have such a wonderful community provider as the MCHD’s dental team. They not only provide much-needed dental services to our at-risk population but also allow ALL students to receive a screening and sealants at NO cost! This is a tremendous service to our families, especially those families that fall in the gap of working to better their financial situation but do not qualify for assistance. We see that dental services and regular screenings are often neglected because food, shelter and other daily necessities take precedence. Many of our families that do qualify for state insurance don’t regularly take their children to the dentist either because of bad experiences themselves or lack of providers in our area. The MCHD dental team allows for children to be seen during the regular school day without parents having to transport them out of the area or take time from work. They also provide information to the families if the students need additional treatments and go above and beyond just sending a letter. They make personal phone calls to each student’s family to ensure the child is getting additional treatments and even help with referrals.”

Lisa goes on to say, “I can’t say enough about the value of this program and the impact it has on our students. Not to mention Marsha and Kim are so great with the students. They put the students at ease by explaining each step of the process and joking with the students to make them feel more comfortable. I often hear my students say, that wasn’t so bad to other students that are waiting for their turns and because the dental team has been at our schools for so many years, the students recognize them and know exactly what to expect. They have developed a rapport with our students that is breaking down the fear of dental treatment.”

Congratulations to the Madison County Health Department for your outstanding dental outreach program in Madison County. Visit the Madison County Health Department website for more information.