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Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries

Oregon's State Oral Health Coalition

Practice Number: 40004
Submitted By: Oregon Public Health Division, Office of Family Health, Oral Health Program
Submission Date: April 2008
Last Reviewed: February 2013
Last Updated: February 2013
Best Practice Approach Example Oregon's State Oral Health Coalition


Building off the success of statewide oral health summit in 2004, the Oregon State Oral Health Program, with guidance from its Oral Health Advisory Board (OHAB) began development of a broad based statewide oral health coalition (SOHC) in 2005. The OHAB expanded membership to form a Coalition Steering Committee which coordinated the planning of three major activities around a two day event in May, 2006. Those activities were: 1) release of the first ever state oral health plan, 2) the convening of a second oral health summit (Forum) and 3) the launch of the first ever Oregon statewide oral health coalition.

The Oregon Oral Health Coalition (OrOHC) is now celebrating its fifth anniversary as a central source of advocacy, information and communication around oral health issues in Oregon. 

OrOHC’s recent successes:

  • We participated in successful mediation with the Oregon Dental Association that resulted in passage of SB 738, which permits pilot projects to encourage the development of innovative practices in oral health care delivery systems. 
  • We were selected to participate in the prestigious DentaQuest Foundation Oral Health 2014 Initiative. The grant we were awarded allows us to enhance our infrastructure and dramatically expand our scope and activities.
  • Our Early Childhood Cavities Prevention Committee successfully launched a three-year workforce development project in collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority - Oral Health Unit.  The First Tooth Project will reduce early childhood caries in Oregon by focusing on training medical and dental providers in preventive oral health services for infants and toddlers ages three and under.
  • We have received significant funding for the First Tooth Project from private Oregon foundations.
  • We broadened our membership to include representatives from medical, public health, dental, and community based organizations.
  • We increased participation from the public health community on our Board of Directors.
  • We hosted the first annual Oral Health Planning Summit with participants from across the state sharing a vision for oral health in the future.
  • Additional planning summits focused on specific relevant topics will be held in 2013 and annually thereafter.
  • We re-established our Geriatric Committee to focus on the needs of our aging population.
  • We actively engaged with local oral health coalitions throughout Oregon.
  • We hired an Executive Director to carry out the mission and vision of the coalition.

OrOHC’s ongoing successes:

  • We host successful and well-attended annual meetings with nationally recognized key note speakers, and panels of engaging speakers.
  • We continue to work with our many partners in Oregon’s counties, assisting with community integration and program development.

OrOHC’s future projects include:

  • We will develop and coordinate partnerships to increase state and community capacity to address specific oral disease prevention and intervention programs, including supporting the Head Start dental home initiative and support for state oral health surveillance and sealant activities.
  • We will sustain and expand the reach of the First Tooth program to medical and dental providers across the state by intensifying support for the program and developing a train-the-trainers program.
  • We will create innovative pilot projects for alternative dental care delivery programs in accordance with the recently passed legislation (SB 738).
  • We will develop and implement a Chronic Disease working committee.
  • We will be active partners in the development of the State Oral Health Plan.
  • We will sustain, support and emphasize an expanded and diverse statewide oral health coalition to assist in formulation of plans, guide project activities, and identify additional financial resources.

We are in a pivotal time here in Oregon, as our State moves forward with Health Care Reform and the creation of Coordinated Care Organizations. We need to ensure that oral health is kept at the forefront.

Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:

Gary Wappes, MSW, Executive Director, Oregon Oral Health Coalition, PO Box 3132, 9140 SW Pioneer Court, Suite E, Wilsonville, OR 97070, Phone: 971.224.3018, Fax: 971.224.1323, Email:, Website: