Virginia earned a C+ for oral health on the Virginia Oral Health Report Card, which measures Virginia's progress on nine key oral health indicators with the highest return on investment. Recognizing each region has its own unique challenges and strengths, Virginia Health Catalyst convened regional oral health alliances to galvanize local providers, advance initiatives that improve access to oral health care in communities, and ultimately improve our Virginia’s grade. Regional alliances are located in Northern Virginia, Greater Richmond/Petersburg, and Hampton Roads; Catalyst also works with regional partners to advance hyperlocal oral health integration programs. Catalyst continues to support the regional alliances, empower new alliances, and develop partnerships with other organizations across the state.
Oral Health Integration in the Safety Net
Through several grant-funded programs, Catalyst provides technical assistance, facilitative leadership, and education to safety net clinics who seek to integrate oral health services, education, and referrals into practice. Catalyst helps clinics assess their current level of integration and provide targeted resources to assist the clinic in meeting its desired integration goals, such as health IT and quality improvement support. Integrating oral health into primary care settings ensures patients receive more comprehensive health services, supports patient-centered care models, and facilitates interprofessional collaboration among providers.
Catalyst convenes targeted workgroups to advance comprehensive health care goals; the workgroups address grassroots advocacy, the safety net, school age health, and early dental homes. In addition, Catalyst maintains a Policy Committee and Clinical Advisory Board to provide guidance to advocacy, education, and outreach activities. Additionally, Catalyst staff members participate in numerous community-led workgroups to advance goals state health goals and policies.
Community Water Fluoridation
The CDC notes that fluoridated drinking water is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century. In partnership with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Catalyst helps to convene a statewide Community Water Fluoridation Rapid Response Team (RRT) to ensure Virginians have access to fluoridated drinking water. RRT members are local fluoridation advocates from all fields and disciplines who work with local and state leaders, with support from Catalyst and VDH, to ensure local water supplies maintain or begin water fluoridation.
Dental Provider Training - Individuals with Special Health Care Needs
Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities experience higher rates of gum disease and face a shortage of providers equipped to deliver dental care to this population. This program aims to increase the number of dentists who are comfortable treating individuals with special health care needs. The program facilitates continuing education trainings for dentists across Virginia, presented by a dental hygienist and dentist with extensive experience in providing dental care to this population. The trainings effectively equip the participants with skills and knowledge to provide dental homes to more individuals with special health care needs, including cerebral palsy, autism, Downs Syndrome, developmental/ intellectual disabilities, and other physical or behavioral disabilities.
Oral Health 2020
Oral health is health. Oral Health 2020 seeks to increase access to oral health care by expanding the oral health network, reducing disparities in health care delivery, integrating oral health into all aspects of healthcare, and advancing policies that increase access to oral health services and coverage.