Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries
Program Development, Collaboration, and Sustainability
The West Virginia Oral Health Program (OHP) in its present form is a young, diversified, and ambitious collection of staff, investors, and oral health champions. Even though the OHP has been in existence for years, it has not been until recently that the program has gained significant traction earning both positive state and national reputations. This recognition stems from promising outcomes achieved via the unique “business-model” approach to population based oral health. A new approach to seeking funding redefines traditional financial resources and looks to include funders that are “investors” in the promotion of oral health. This includes advocacy, earned media, and engaged participation versus traditional required reporting.
Cross cutting elements of business principles in OHP programming include: practice/program growth, staff management, treatment plan development in the form of dental public health activities targeting population-based health, patient satisfaction components, profitability, and maintaining professional networks. A broad range of strategies, goals, and new hires have led to unique advancements in program development and coalition support for the OHP. In addition, the procurement of a wide range of funding/investing sources has catapulted the program forward in times where other Oral Health Programs have experienced drastic cuts.
A main catalyst/driver that fueled an initial flurry of activity came from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. In West Virginia, the Benedum Foundation is recognized as an “investor” versus a traditional funder. This foundation has a standing health agenda and a history of tackling difficult health issues in the Appalachian region. The Benedum Foundation recognized a need from discussions with young leaders for young leadership that would champion, institute, and lead evidence-based approaches to dental public health. The Foundation cultivated and nurtured that need by investing seed dollars in a range of projects from training primary care providers on the utilization of fluoride varnish to expanding school-based sealant programs. The Foundation continues to monitor their initial investment and has been a constant source of support both financially and in advocating for policy change.
Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:
Dr. Jason Roush, State Dental Director, WV Oral Health Program, 350 Capitol Street, Room 427, Charleston, WV 25301 Phone: 304-356-4353 Fax: 304-558-2183 E-mail: Jason.M.Roush@wv.gov
Teresa D. Marks, BA, Program Manager, WV Oral Health Program, 350 Capitol Street, Room 427, Charleston, WV 25301 Phone: 304-356-4233 Fax: 304-558-2183 E-mail: Teresa.D.Marks@wv.gov