With support of members, sponsors, and partners, the IOHA serves as the convener for collaborative discussions and actions that promote a collective vision of optimal oral health for Idahoans. Financial support and active engagement from all our champions help lead conversations and facilitate actions that move us closer to this vision.
Our mission: To lead collaborative efforts to bring optimal oral health to Idahoans through education, advocacy, and program development intentionally acknowledges IOHA leadership in statewide efforts to work collectively to address the oral health needs of all Idahoans.
Heartfelt Thanks to Retiring Board Members
It is with deep gratitude that the IOHA Board of Directors thanks retiring board members, Carolyn Brammer, RDH-EA; Jack Lincks, DDS, MS, Sarah Ridinger, MHA, and Jessica Oliver. Carolyn and Jack have been on the board for a long time and helped the IOHA transition from a volunteer-led group to hiring the first ever staff person in 2014. Carolyn retired from Central District Health in 2016 and now serves on the Idaho Board of Dentistry. She began her dental hygiene career in 1982. Dr. Lincks has been a dedicated board member since 2009 and was chair for several years. He is a Delta Dental of Idaho board member and serves on their Community Outreach Committee. He graduated from dental school in 1986 and then joined the United States Air Force where he served 21 years in the Dental Corps. Sarah Ridinger joined the IOHA board in 2020 when she worked for the Idaho Community Health Center Association (ICHCA) (formerly the Idaho Primary Care Association.) She now works for OSIS (Ohio Shared Information Systems) and is the Idaho representative for the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network. Jessica Oliver is leaving her position as the executive director of the Idaho State Dental Association in mid-December. She has represented the ISDA on our board for the last two years. We wish her luck as she moves her family to Colorado. Please join us in thanking these dedicated volunteers.
Healthy Me is Cavity-Free Initiative
The Healthy Me initiative addresses the issue of caries in children ages 0 to 6. A statewide steering committee and four sub-committees have been working to create avenues to combat the issue. Achievements from 2022 include:
▪ Preparation for five regional trainings for childcare providers to be held in November 2022 and January 2023. Thanks to support from Delta Dental of Idaho, regional public health districts, and state entities including Maternal and Child Health, the Office of Head Start Collaboration, and the Idaho Oral Health Program (IOHP), the free in-person classes will focus on content adapted from the Cavity Free Kids curriculum.
▪ A statewide social media campaign that will target parents of children ages 0-3 to help them understand that Baby Teeth Matter. The ads and posts will be presented on Facebook in the first two months of 2023 to align with February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month activities.
▪ In July, the IOHA unveiled an oral health education module for childcare providers on the IdahoSTARS training platform. The interactive curriculum was created by Camille Biorn, RDH, clinical associate professor at Idaho State University. By September, 246 individuals had completed the module that is available in English or Spanish. The training is free and available to anyone with an IdahoSTARS account. Visit https://idahostars.org/ to learn more.
▪ In July, the Provider Education sub-committee, in partnership with the SW Idaho Area Health Education Center (AHEC), kicked off an 8-part live webinar series that strives to educate medical professionals who desire to learn more about the symbiotic relationship between oral health and whole health. Sessions are free, available to both medical and dental providers, and provide continuing medical education credits. 2022 presenters included: Patricia Braun, MD MPH, FAAP; Ann Eshenaur Spolarich, RDH, PhD, and JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, MS, PhD, AFAAOM. 2023 presenters include: M. Colleen Stephenson, RDH-ER, MS (Jan. 18: Mouths of Moms to the Mouths of Babes: The Importance of Maternal, Infant, and Child Oral Health); Matt Zaborowski, MPH, CPH (March 7: Fluoride: Why You Should Discuss the “F” Word with Your Patients); Danielle Rulli, DHSc, MS, RDH, and Adrienne Lapidos, PhD (May 17: Mouths Matter: The Inextricable Link Between Oral, Mental, and Physical Health); Patricia Braun, MD, MPH, FAAP (July TBA: How To: Oral Health Integration, Barriers, Referrals, and Reimbursement Tips). The September 2023 session will be a panel of oral health professionals who will answer questions from their medical colleagues. Registration information is shared one month prior to each seminar.
Oral Health Integration
While the COVID pandemic paused the expansion of the IOHA Referral Network Pilot Phase in 2022, support for the long-term initiative of leading Oral Health Integration into Primary Care Settings in Idaho continued. One significant partnership effort culminated with in-clinic fluoride varnish training for medical clinics in Burley and Meridian. The IOHA, MCNA (Managed Care North America), the IOHP, the Idaho Office of Medicaid, and the ICHCA came together as the “Idaho Team” for a national fluoride varnish affinity project sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Thanks to MCNA for leading the in-clinic training efforts and to Patterson Dental/Mike Roddy for securing fluoride and clinic supplies to distribute to participating clinics. The group hopes to continue this training program in 2023.
Other IOHA efforts in 2022 included:
▪ Creation of the 2021-2026 Idaho Oral Health Improvement Plan Reporting Form https://www.idahooralhealth.org/idaho-oral-health-improvement-plan/ We hope all IOHA partners will use this form to report activities that relate to the plan goals.
▪ Conversations with partners interested in building a curriculum for Community Health Emergency Medical Services (CHEMS) to introduce oral health concepts to community health workers and CHEMS professionals across the state.
▪ Partnering with the Diabetes Alliance of Idaho to create educational opportunities and materials for medical providers, dental providers, and Diabetes educators.
▪ Participating in the Clearwater Collaborative in North Central Idaho which is working to improve access to oral healthcare in rural areas.
▪ Placement of a dentist on the Idaho Kids Covered Steering Committee. Thanks to Dr. Daron Lind who is bringing the oral health perspective to this initiative that is addressing the issue of the more than 24,000 Idaho children who are uninsured. Idaho Voices for Children manages this collaborative effort.
▪ Placement of a dentist on the Idaho Medicaid Care Advisory Board. Thanks to Dr. Shaun Christensen who is bringing the oral health perspective to this statewide Medicaid advisory board. This is the first time oral health has ever been represented on this Idaho advisory committee.
▪ Ongoing support of IOHP efforts regarding Silver Diamine Fluoride, Teledentistry, School-Based Sealant Programs, and Community Water Fluoridation.
Even with corporate support, your membership payments continue to make the IOHA work possible, so we look forward to your continued feedback, volunteer participation, and renewal of your dues for 2023. Renew today at https://www.idahooralhealth.org/membership/
For more information about the Idaho Oral Health Alliance, contact IOHA Executive Director, Jennifer Wheeler, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to our 2022 sponsors: