ORAL HEALTH AND ACCESS TO CARE
Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved at Morehouse School of Medicine is continuing our efforts to examine options and opportunities to address unmet oral health needs and strategies to increase access to affordable oral care homes. As a part of our efforts, we are seeking to expand the available literature to expand perspectives on education, workforce and practice and their relation to achieving equity.
Community Voices is partnering with the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), American Public Health Association Press (APHA) and academic, practice, philanthropy and community based researchers to develop a supplemental issue of the American Journal of Public Health focused on Oral Health (In)Equity.
As the nation continues to grapple with how to make health care available and affordable, it is clear that oral health continues to be treated as a stepchild. This special issue of AJPH shows that despite gains made in the past two decades, poor oral health is a silent epidemic that continues to affect low-income communities and communities of color, in particular children, who are among our most vulnerable citizens.
Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness afflicting children, 43 percent of Americans have no dental coverage, half of all children entitled to dental care under Medicaid did not get a visit, and the dental profession is far from diverse — just 7 percent of all dentists are professionals of color. The articles in this issue highlight the numerous challenges in the current system, document the disparities and offer innovative solutions to ensure all have access to good oral health.
External funding for this supplement was provided by the Morehouse School of Medicine and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and can be found in its entire at the American Journal of Public Health website.
In March 2018 a book focused on the untold stories of oral health disparities and approaches to expanding workforce models and research representing the efforts of underserved minorities will be included. To learn more on this project and how to submit a chapter proposal, please click here to LEARN MORE.
Options and Opportunities to Address Oral Health Workforce Needs is a research project addressing oral healthcare access barriers and the establishment of oral healthcare homes by leading statewide efforts in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. With the support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved (CV) of the Morehouse School of Medicine is continuing its leadership in addressing the health needs of underserved communities.
To achieve these goals state and regional advisory groups were established to engage partners and oral health advocates representing various sectors in the project implementation process and to further support statewide and regional collaboration needed to strengthen oral health equity efforts in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. The stakeholders who served on these committees assisted with survey instrument development, survey and focus group recruitment efforts, leveraging partnerships and coalition building, and providing practice and policy updates from the field. Quarterly meetings, calls and engagement occurred with statewide advisory group members, while the regional committee me on a monthly basis. Statewide group members were also engaged for individual state meetings that were conducted in Atlanta, GA, Pensacola, FL, and Jackson, MS ( to convene each state’s members to discuss pertinent statewide barriers, continued challenges and advantageous solutions to meet their respective oral health needs.
Community Voices hosted a regional dialogue entitled "Learning and Leading: Options and Opportunities to Address UnMet Needs" to discuss the project and findings. Learn More about the conference and outcomes HERE.