On April 28-30, I had the opportunity to attend the National Oral Health Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. This meeting was an eye-opening opportunity! I learned a lot about oral health issues and many ways in which State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and oral health providers can collaborate to improve access to oral health care in rural communities. I highly recommend this conference if you ever have the chance to attend or, better yet, give a presentation about oral health projects that you are working on.

Amy Martin, PhD and Mark Doherty, DMD, MPH, gave an inspiring presentation, “Taming the Frontier: Bringing Oral Health into Rural Health” that I’m hoping to replicate in a webinar for NOSORH members. They talked about how they’ve partnered with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health to improve access to dental care in that state. Their session had many in the
audience asking, “How do I get in touch with my State Office of Rural Health?” As a result, you may be hearing from folks who’d like to partner with you on oral health initiatives.

During the conference, I had the opportunity to address the Board of Directors of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) and to lead a roundtable discussion about partnering with NOSORH and SORHs. I left with a number of ideas for webinars to share with you what I learned. These are some of the areas that we seemed to have common interests: partnering to achieve common goals, including facilitating collaboration with Primary Care Associations (PCAs), and supporting alternative pathways to access through innovative models, including new allied dental health provider models.

If you’re interested in learning more about the event, visit the following website: http://www.nationaloralhealthconference.com.

Stephanie Hansen
Education and Service Director