State Oral Health Plan Under Development
This week the oral health community from Massachusetts and beyond gathered for a two day summit in Sturbridge and set the stage for the creation of a five year, statewide plan to improve oral health.
Also, next Wednesday, June 11 at 9:00, the Public Health Council (agenda) will hear a presentation by Lynn A. Bethel, Director of the Office of Oral Health in DPH on “The Oral Health Crisis in Massachusetts."
This summit, developed by a partnership that includes the Oral Health Foundation, Partners for a Healthier Community, the Massachusetts Dental Society, Delta Dental of Massachusetts, Baystate Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association, is the beginning of a process that will result in an action plan designed to eliminate barriers to oral health care and increase access for all Massachusetts residents. Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative John Scibak attended and addressed the crowd, emphasizing collaboration and their support of a robust oral health policy agenda.
Representatives from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island were on hand to share their experiences with developing a statewide oral health plan. These three states identified focus areas for their oral health plans that included increased awareness of oral health issues, increased access to preventive and restorative care for all residents, integration of oral health care with medical care, increased access to quality care for vulnerable populations, a strengthened oral health infrastructure and implementation of initiatives to retain, strengthen and support the dental workforce.
The development of the Massachusetts statewide plan will be led by the Better Oral Health for Massachusetts Coalition, made up of oral health providers, advocates and community leaders. This coalition will examine best practices, experiences of neighboring states and Massachusetts specific oral health data. It will also draw from the expertise and experiences of the Massachusetts health and human services community to create a plan that builds on the strengths of the Commonwealth and meets the unique needs of our residents. Please visit massoralhealth.org today, and in the coming months, for information about this initiative and to find out how you can get involved.