2021 Appalachian Oral Health Summit

Oral Health is critical to overall health. Poor oral health is linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, yet more than 1 in 5 people report not having visited a dentist in the past few years. In Central Appalachia, access to oral health care can be a major barrier. The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges, leading to dental practice closures, cancellation of school-based preventive measures, and an exodus of dental hygienists from the workforce.

The Health Group of the Appalachia Funders Network hosted the virtual Appalachian Oral Health Summit on Friday, May 21, 2021. The summit had 117 people register to learn about the current state of oral health and the importance of improving the region's oral health outcomes. Thirteen speakers engaged the audience with their successes, challenges, and the important research being used to improve the field. A recording of all the sessions are posted here.

Welcome Session |  Why Oral Health?

Why is oral health so important to our overall health? In the recording below, Dr. Minter-Jordan, President and CEO of the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health shares a welcome to the second Appalachian Oral Health Summit. Sarah Bedard Holland, CEO of Virginia Health Catalyst, demonstrates why oral health is critical and the promising practices her organization is using.

National Trends & Opportunities in Oral Health Session

In this recording, learn about trending topics with national experts in the field of oral health. Colleagues at Community Catalyst shared highlights from their forthcoming field scan report as well as federal and state policy opportunities and workforce trends. You'll also learn about successful strategies and actions taken by oral health coalitions from around the country from the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions.

Covid-19 Impacts on Oral Health in Appalachia

Covid-19 impacted the oral health care sector in nearly every way. Learn about the hygienist and dental office perspective, the impact on recruiting and educating dentistry students, and real examples of changes made to community-based dentistry and direct patient care.

Children's Oral Health & the Social Determinants of Health Session

Following over a year of disruption in schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Amy Martin will discuss the outlook for children’s oral health and how to regain progress won. Dr. Martin is Professor and Chair for the Department of Stomatology and the Director for the Division of Population Oral Health at the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina.

Innovations in the Changing Workforce: Examples in Appalachia

First, Gina Sharps, oral health educator at Marshall University School of Medicine and coordinator for the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition will share about local foundation partnerships that are supporting the oral health needs of people in recovery. Then Dr. Zach Brian, Director of the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, will speak about about how community-based dentistry is cultivating an effective and efficient workforce through policy reform and addressing the social determinants of health through dental care navigation.

A big thank you for the work to plan the summit goes out to our oral health planning team:
  • Marcia Brand, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health Improvement
  • Janell Ray, Pallottine Foundations of Buckhannon and Huntington
  • Parrish Ravelli, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health Improvement
  • Kim Tieman, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

And thanks to the support of our sponsors, the virtual summit was free to the public.