Oral Health Colorado (OHCO)

When it comes to health disparities, it's a tale of the teeth: families of color and low-income families are less likely to have access to dental care. This can lead to a lifetime of health problems. OHCO works to narrow the gap by providing resources to local communities to improve oral health.

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Facilitative Leadership to Strengthen Voices for Oral Health

Class

Public, Society Benefit 

Beneficiaries

Description

To strengthen local voices to improve oral health, Oral Health Colorado (OHCO) is partnering with the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) to hold a Facilitative Leadership for Social Change (FLSC) workshops to build leadership and advocacy capacity in Craig (9/12-13), Rifle (9/15-16), Alamosa (9/19-20), Montrose (9/22-23), and Cortez (9/26-27). OHCO has selected IISC as its partner as they bring 20 years of experience in leadership and organizational development with a commitment to bringing diverse interests together to collectively effect change.

FLSC develops practical skills and tools for tapping the creativity, experience, and commitment of advocates and provides participants with an opportunity in which to explore their challenges and aspirations as leaders. By bringing together key stakeholders to create a shared vision for oral health and strategies for action, we hope to see change happen in local communities. More information about IISC and FSCL can be found at interactioninstitute.org.

Thanks to the Colorado Health Foundation and Delta Dental of Colorado, up to 15 people will be selected for each 2-day training and these new relationships will be nurtured by OHCO beyond the workshops. After the conclusion of the training, OHCO will convene the workshop participants to collaboratively identify community issues impacting oral health and to develop plans for addressing the issues in 2017. We anticipate having mini grants to help support these efforts.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

1. participants completion of training

2. participants engage in local policy initiative to improve oral health

3. participants continue to engage in oral health advocacy

4. voices are more diversified (geography, race, ethnicity, professional background)

Diverse Coalitions for Change

Class

Public, Society Benefit 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Adults

Description

Oral Health Colorado believes that oral health is an integral part of every person's total well-being. For us to take collaboration to the next level to solve our state's oral health disparities, we must learn about what matters to our current oral health advocates, as well as talk with new partners and individuals that represent diverse stakeholders. Through these conversations we can strengthen and expand our strategic partnerships and take policy action to improve oral health in Colorado.

We have selected two communities for our efforts- Aurora and Colorado Springs. We seek to identify a leader in each community that will convene diverse stakeholders including community leaders, agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, health care providers, the faith community, and others interested in creating policy solutions to improve oral health. We hope to use this opportunity to work with partners from outside the oral health community, broaden who is talking about oral health and tackle unique community needs through adoption of policies that will improve oral health. Some ideas that we have include communities adopting policies that decrease access and consumption of sugar sweet and beverages, enhance the provision of oral health services in schools, and building awareness of the importance of community water fluoridation to protect against rollbacks or creating the climate for adding this important public health tool to reduce cavities.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

1. Plan is developed

2. Activities are implemented

3. Policy change occurs

4. Relationships between participants are strengthened

5. Future activities and advocacy to improve oral health

Connecting Colorado's Oral Health Advocates for Collective Impact

Class

Health Care 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizen
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
Disabled, General or Disability unspecified
Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General

Description

As the state oral health coalition, OHCO is a connector, convener and conveyer of information. In the coming year, it will continue to develop its network of oral health advocates beyond the traditional players and build public will for seeing oral health as a community issue. OHCO will continue to lead policy efforts to improve access to oral health. OHCO will continue is spearheading of the Smart Mouths, Smart Kids initiative by disseminating a community toolkit that will assist in the development and implementation of sustainable in-school oral health programs.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

In the past year, OHCO has collaborated with many partners to achieve the following:
Passage of mandatory Pediatric Dental Benefit in exchange
Passage of increased funding to add dentures to Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit
Passage of financial incentives for oral health professionals to participate in Medicaid
Passage of Medicaid Adult Dental Benefit
Passage of Community Oral Health Grants program
Medicaid expansion
Movement toward mandating purchase of a pediatric dental benefit within Connect for Care Colorado
Elimination of waiting period for CHP+

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