I hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and its impacts on our families, co-workers, and places of work.
This month we have plenty of news to share, from our new plans for Oral Health Day 2020 to the announcement of our COVID-19 Teledentistry Fund grantees, with support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the health care workers and all essential employees on the front lines of this pandemic. They are hard at work every day to keep the rest of us as safe and as healthy as possible.
Dr. Zachary Brian
Oral Health Day is Going Digital
At NCOHC’s Oral Health Day Webinar on April 29, we announced plans to shift our signature advocacy event to an online format to ensure participant safety given COVID-19. Oral Health Day will now be a two-part event, and we’re bringing part two out of Raleigh and into communities across the state.
You can watch the recorded webinar and learn more about the new schedule and community tours here.
NCOHC COVID-19 Teledentistry Fund
To aid in patient care during COVID-19, we launched the NCOHC COVID-19 Teledentistry Fund for dental safety-net clinics to purchase teledentistry software subscriptions.
We have extended the application deadline on a rolling basis until the fund is exhausted. So, if you work for a safety-net facility that has not applied and think this could benefit your patients, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll follow up with more details and an application form.
What We’re Focused on This Month
Interim Mask and Face Shield Guidelines
The American Dental Association recommends providers use the highest level of PPE available in coordination with goggles or a face shield, when interacting with patients. In this guidance, the ADA outlines the different types of PPE and the associated level of protection they offer. NCOHC has also attached supporting research and evidence.
Since moving to remote work in March, we’ve welcomed quite a few new co-workers to our home “offices.” You can meet all of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation’s furry friends here.
Promoting a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles
“Dr. Rios, chief dental officer at the Kinston Community Health Center, will visit 13 schools in Lenoir this year, sometimes checking as many as 25 students – and their 800 incisors, canines and molars – in one day.”
Watch The Duke Endowment’s Profile of Service featuring Dr. Rios to learn how his work is improving children’s oral health in the Kinston area.
Read more about Dr. Rios and the Kinston Community Health Center’s school-based oral health program here.
Did You Know?
Structural and Governmental Influences on Oral Health
North Carolina doesn’t have a structure in place to meet the oral health care needs of the state’s residents. If all North Carolinians were to receive standard cleanings and check-ups every six months, every single practicing dentist in the state would need to field 4,080 appointments every year. And that doesn’t even account for emergency visits, restorations, and other care beyond regular preventive appointments.
In many ways, tools to build a more equitable system lie in public policy.
As we mentioned earlier in this newsletter, Oral Health Day 2020 is going digital. Join us on June 3 to hear from a great panel of speakers about the state of oral health in North Carolina, shortage areas we must address, how teledentistry can be used as a tool to bridge access gaps, and our policy priorities moving forward.
Additionally, stay tuned for more information to learn how you can join us for a community dental clinic tour later this fall!
Finally, if you or your partner organizations are advancing oral health access and equity in innovative ways, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Brady Blackburn to collaborate and potentially showcase your work in an upcoming newsletter!