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Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries

West Virginia Oral Health Infrastructure and Coalition Development

Practice Number: 55002
Submitted By: West Virginia Oral Health Program
Submission Date: May 2012
Last Reviewed: May 2012
Last Updated: May 2012
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The mission of the West Virginia Oral Health Program is to improve the oral health status of West Virginia by providing a structured approach to meeting the oral health needs of everyone in the state. The primary goals are to provide preventative education and improving oral health access.  Recent successes of the program are due to the collaborative efforts from other government agencies and community partners.  Activities of the Oral Health Program continue to be advised by the WV Oral Health Advisory Board consisting of key stakeholders and continue to meet on quarterly basis, working to address the oral health issues of West Virginia. In March 2010, the WVDHHR Oral Health Advisory Board completed the first state oral health plan which is recognized by the CDC.    The Plan was created from the feedback and input received during community and town hall meetings held across the state with final input received from the WV DHHR Oral Health Advisory Board.  The plan also provided a comprehensive burden of disease report on oral health disease in WV.  One of the main recommendations to come from the state plan was to develop and sustain a statewide oral health coalition network which encompasses a diverse group of professionals and community members with a vested interest in oral health.  The Oral Health Program helped create a statewide Oral Health Coalition as recommended by the state oral health plan and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.    The WV Oral Health Coalition will be able to address sensitive issues, make recommendations to policy makers, and will be open to anyone with an interest in oral health.  The inaugural meeting of the WV Oral Health Coalition was held on June 3, 2011.   

The Oral Health Program leadership is headed by State Dental Director, Dr.  Jason Roush.  Under the guidance of Dr. Roush, the Program continues to build upon existing collaborations and is pursuing new partnerships to meet the goals of the Program.  The Program continues to contract with dental hygienist and local health facilities to promote and provide oral health education.  When fully staffed, the Oral Health Educator Network is comprised of 17 part-time Oral Hygienists throughout West Virginia covering all fifty-five counties.  The primary responsibility of these educators is to provide educational presentations to school-age children. 

The Program continues to support fluoridation efforts in the community, in addition to providing oral health supplies and educational materials to our community partners.  The Program also provides fluoride water testing for private water systems and if needed, the clinician can prescribe fluoride supplements to ensure optimal fluoride levels are present. 

The Oral Health Program assisted the WVDHHR Advisory Board with establishing recommendations for ongoing monitoring of reimbursement, and phasing in fee increases for dental providers with Medicaid and WVCHIP.  The Oral Health Program assisted community partners with the development of a fluoride varnish training module for family physicians and their ancillaries as a preventative intervention for children.  Once the reimbursement rates are approved by Medicaid, the training program will begin.  A workforce study will be conducted by the WV Oral Health Coalition and monitored by the Oral Health Program to evaluate the distribution of dentist and dental providers across the state.  The key to all the recent success with the Oral Health Program is due to the following partnerships:  WVDHHR Oral Health Advisory Board, West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program, WV Bureau for Medical Services, WV Public Employees Insurance Agency, WV Insurance Commission, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, WV School Based Health Assembly, WV Dental Association, WV Dental Hygiene Association, WV Council of Churches, WV Growing Healthy Children, WV Bureau for Medical Services, WV Dental Assistant Association, WV Perinatal Partnership, WV Right From the Start,  WV Higher Education Policy Commission, WVU School of Dentistry, Marshall University, WV Primary Care Association, Division of Primary Care, Division of Recruitment and Retention, WV Schools of Dental Hygiene, WV Water Quality Division, WV Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, WV Chapter of Academy of Family Physicians, WV Department of Education, WV Division of Tobacco Prevention, WV Oral Health Educators, and the WV School Nurse Association.

Lessons Learned:

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Maternal, Child, and Family Health Oral Health Program provided grant funding to establish the foundations for infrastructure needed to conduct an oral health surveillance project and reported that data to the Centers for Disease Control.  As a result of these efforts, the baseline is established for sustainability for additional oral health surveillance across the state.   This data collection effort was one of the strategies identified in West Virginia’s state oral health plan.  These standards allow the findings to be published and withstand scrutiny, thus allowing it to be a creditable snapshot of children’s oral health in West Virginia. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson learned was what great things can be achieved by having a statewide coalition where all key stakeholders are represented.  Because of the diverse makeup, the coalition was able to leverage policy makers to pass legislation allowing the placement of sealants in a school based setting without a prior examination. 

Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:

Bobbi Muto, RDH, MPH,, WV Sealant Coordinator/Community Oral Health Coordinator, Marshall, University SOM, WV DHHR 3738 Cambridge Dr. Hurricane, WV 25526, Phone:  304.542.9592, Email:

Jason M. Roush, DDS WV Dental Director, WV DHHR- OMFCH, Oral Health Program, 350 Capitol Street, Room 427, Charleston, WV 25301, Phone:  304.356.4353, Email: