The WNC Children’s Oral Health Initiative is working to improve children’s oral health in western NC (WNC). The project is overseen by a regional steering committee of dentists, physicians, hygienists, community partners, public health, and university partners.
With funding from The Duke Endowment, Mission Children’s Hospital partnered with WNC Health Network in 2017 to conduct a needs assessment of children’s oral health and services in WNC. The needs assessment gathered children’s oral health data and heard from dentists, physicians, and dental hygienists about barriers and opportunities families face accessing oral health care.
The needs assessment was shared with regional partners to hear stakeholder’s input about the data and hear their thoughts on how to improve services to meet the needs of families in our region. In 2018, parent listening sessions were held to hear what they had to say about their child’s oral health. Key themes from the parent listening sessions were shared at two regional strategic planning sessions to identify strategies to best address their concerns. A strategic plan has been developed and the region is taking action on the key issues that were identified.
Strategic Focus Areas:
- Increase collaborative efforts among dental, medical, and public health partners that encourage primary prevention and a dental home for children on Medicaid
- Expand oral health programs, practices, & policies that increase access to care for children living in rural communities, communities of color, and those living in poverty
- Enhance oral health literacy of families, policy makers, and health care providers