Idaho Oral Health Alliance Receives Grants
(Boise) – The Idaho Oral Health Alliance (IOHA) is honored to announce it has received several grants to support 2021 efforts that address oral health needs of Idahoans.
In addition to its annual corporate sponsorship, Delta Dental of Idaho has awarded the IOHA $45,000 to assist with several projects including statewide oral health messaging and the “Healthy Me is Cavity-Free” initiative that addresses the significant issue of caries (cavities) for children ages 0-6. The efforts of the initiative are based on the results of the Idaho Smile Survey conducted regularly by the Idaho Oral Health Program within the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. A study of Idaho third grade students over the past 20 years, it has consistently shown that Idaho children have a “caries experience” rate of 65.6% while the national Healthy People 2020 goal is 49% for that age group. Caries experience (which can begin as soon as the first tooth erupts) is defined as the prevalence of untreated tooth decay, treated tooth decay, or missing permanent teeth due to tooth decay.
Greg Donaca, President and CEO of Delta Dental of Idaho, said, “The Idaho Smile Survey, has, for the last 20 years, shown that Idaho children have significantly more oral health issues than the national average, so we’ve got to figure out how to address this problem for our littlest Idahoans. Delta whole-heartedly supports the IOHA collaborative efforts to attack this problem from several different perspectives.”
The IOHA also focuses on medical/dental collaboration and efforts to integrate oral health preventive care into primary care settings. One unique aspect of the integration effort is the creation of the IOHA Referral Network. The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation has awarded $25,000 and the Patterson Dental Foundation has given $12,500 to help with this endeavor. This bi-directional medical/dental referral system is designed to improve access to high quality healthcare by giving medical and dental providers a managed, professional referral resource to help connect their patients to care. Network members are also coached on the importance of preventive care, the interconnectedness between oral health and whole health, and the need for a cross-discipline approach to patient care.
The IOHA also won a competitive grant from the Idaho Oral Health Program to support the “Healthy Me is Cavity-Free” initiative, and lead efforts to write the 2021-2026 Idaho Oral Health Improvement Plan. Other corporate sponsors include MCNA and SelectHealth.
Mike Roddy, Patterson Dental General Manager (Boise, Spokane, & Billings) said, “Patterson is honored to provide this grant to help test the IOHA Referral Network model. We know that the cross-discipline referral process has long been a hurdle in connecting patients to care, and we applaud the IOHA for its vision.”
The Idaho Oral Health Alliance (IOHA) is a membership-based organization and the only statewide nonprofit that focuses on advocacy, collaboration, and communication in its effort to bring optimal oral health to Idahoans. Anyone who believes in the importance of oral health is welcome to join.