Recap: Oral Health Day 2021

NCOHC hosted Oral Health Day 2021 on July 21st, featuring a speaker lineup with nationwide recognition, including a keynote address from the United States Assistant Surgeon General. If you missed the event, you can watch it in full here.

Keynote Address: Rear Admiral Timothy L. Ricks, DMD, MPH, FICD

RADM Timothy L. Ricks, DMD, MPH, FICD, Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Dental Officer of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), gave the keynote address at this year’s event.

RADM Ricks started with an overview of the many roles the USPHS plays in advancing health and safety across the nation and abroad. He spoke about the different branches of the federal government where dentists serve, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

RADM Ricks went on to discuss the federal government’s COVID-19 response and how dentists have joined the effort to vaccinate the American public against the virus. He also discussed the impact that COVID-19 has had on dental care for the uninsured.

RADM Ricks gave the Oral Health Day audience an overview of equity and what it means in the dental world. Be sure to check out the 19-minute mark of the Oral Health Day recording for his breakdown of oral health disparities across the lifespan by race/ethnicity and income.

Amy Martin, DrPH, MSPH

Dr. Martin, Chair of the Department of Stomatology and Director of the Division of Population Oral Health at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), spoke at Oral Health Day about the innovative ways MUSC is approaching community-based care.

Dr. Martin gave an overview of children’s oral health efforts in rural South Carolina, including how MUSC has engaged in partnerships to develop school-based oral health programs. She also discussed engaging school nurses as local champions to improve oral health services before discussing policy priorities, and the importance of advocacy and influence to improve oral health care.

William Donigan, DDS, MPH, and Melissa Boughman, RDH

Dr. Donigan and Ms. Boughman wrapped up the event, speaking about the success that Kintegra Health, a clinic in Gaston County, North Carolina, has experienced since they began employing patient navigators.

Dr. Donigan discussed patient navigators, giving the audience an overview of Kintegra Health’s patient flow before and after hiring a navigator toward the end of 2016. At their Statesville location, 47 new patients crossed over from Kintegra’s pediatric medical facility to its dental facility in 2016. After bringing on a patient navigator, they had 50 new patients in one month alone! Between 2012 and 2016, 4,584 new patients visited Kintegra’s Statesville dental facility.

There are significant distinctions between Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHCs) and other types of patient navigators. Check out this paper for a deeper dive.

Boughman, who Dr. Donigan considers to be “the original CDHC in North Carolina,” followed up with a brief talk about some of the specific experiences she has had working with children through Kintegra Health’s school-based program.



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