Led by Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOA) and Shaping our Appalachian Region (SOAR), the Southeastern Kentucky Oral Health Coalition was formed in August 2020 in partnership with the statewide Kentucky Oral Health Coalition, which is a project of Kentucky Youth Advocates. The coalition seeks to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to improve oral health literacy, identify solutions to address access to care, and strategize around policy initiatives specific to the population health care needs of southeastern Kentucky.  This coalition is a tri-sector collaboration bringing together members of our business, nonprofit and government communities to work in partnership.

To date, the Southeastern Kentucky Oral Health Coalition has launched several key projects and initiatives:

Red Bird Mission, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, Avesis and Whip Mix Corporation partnership

VOA is engaged in partnership with Red Bird Mission, University of Louisville Dental School and Avesis to develop new mobile, affordable and accessible oral care services that address the unique and complex oral health needs of individuals with substance use disorder. Substance use affects oral health through direct physiological routes as well as through lifestyle factors that typically accompany substance use disorder like malnutrition, poor oral hygiene, and lack of professional dental care. This has cascading effects on overall health, causing issues like chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood, which in turn increases likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases. Whip Mix has donated more than $25,000 in capital equipment to Red Bird Mission to start a 3D implant printing program that brings new technology, resources and training support to create high quality dental implants for clients who need oral reconstruction. This project is not limited to, but is particularly beneficial for clients who are undergoing treatment for Substance Use Disorder and have a high level of oral health needs.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College School of Dentistry and VOA partnership

Big Sandy Community and Technical College School of Dentistry will begin providing oral health and hygiene education to VOA clients at both the Freedom House program and the Recovery Community Center in Manchester, KY.

American Dental Association and VOA partnership

The American Dental Association donated over 200 oral health and hygiene kits for both adults and children at VOA’s Freedom House program in Manchester, KY. Also, the American Dental Association donated dental health and hygiene curriculum to be used to provide education to clients in the program.

Delta Dental Foundation and VOA partnership

The Delta Dental Foundation awarded funding to cover the cost of restorative dental work for clients in VOA’s addiction recovery programs in Manchester, KY.

Oral Health Literacy Campaign in partnership with Runswitch PR, the Kentucky Beverage Association, Avesis, and VOA

In partnership with RunSwitch PR and made possible through funding from the Kentucky Beverage Association and Avesis, VOA and the coalition are working on rolling out a media campaign to improve oral health literacy.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Join the Southeastern Kentucky Oral Health Coalition
  • Join one of the three work groups of the coalition
    1. Develop and roll out Oral Health Literacy Media Campaign
    2. Develop an Oral Health Resource Guide
    3. Implement an Oral Health Awareness Day/Event in Clay County

For more information, please contact:

Amy Erwin, AmyE@voamid.org

Director of Business Development, Volunteers of America Mid-States

Josh Ball, joshua@soar-ky.org

Associate Executive Director, SOAR