Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries
South Dakota Dental Health Strategies Meeting
Access to dental care continues to be a concern especially in rural areas. Additionally, the oral health needs of American Indians in South Dakota far exceed documented problems found across the country. A Native American Oral Health Summit was held on April 25-26, 2012 to bring together constituencies representing dental public health, public policy, research, private practices, and oral health advocacy to identify the issues and disparities surrounding the current status of oral health care in South Dakota. Topics included concerns with access to care, patient to provider ratio, and changes in services and resources for South Dakotans now and in the future. A total of over 100 State, national, Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal Leaders, and dental advocates heard the state of oral health concerns for American Indians in South Dakota and participated in presentations of oral health needs and project successes, large-group facilitated discussions, and small-group planning sessions.
Ten years have passed since the first Oral Health Summit was held in the state. Numerous projects and outcomes have led to improved oral health for many but a crisis in oral health care still exists especially for the American Indian population in the state. A workgroup, with representation from instrumental agencies, was formed to produce recommendations that address the concerns specific to this population.
Participants were encouraged to offer suggestions to improve oral health, gather more precise data on dental needs, and expand services to meet current critical shortages. Several common themes of action included: (1) gather information on the status of resources, (2) create a strategic oral health plan for the Tribes, (3) share best practice models from other states and Tribes, (4) increased communication, and (5) importance of collaboration and partnerships.
The costs for convening the summit included: the facilitator, presenters, recorder, administrative support, meeting room, and food.
Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:
Julie Ellingson, RDH, Oral Health Coordinator, South Dakota Department of Health, 615 East 4th Street, Pierre, South Dakota 57501, Phone: 605-773-7150, Fax: 605-773-5509, Email: Julie.Ellingson@state.sd.us