Corporate sponsors are not only an important resource for funding for the mission of NOSORH, they are experts in rural health and often partners to the State Offices of Rural Health. NOSORH thanks the DentaQuest Institute for their continued support of our mission.
The DentaQuest Institute (DQI) is a nonprofit entity with a mission of promoting optimal oral health through quality care and prevention. As the current oral health care delivery system is becoming more person-centered and prevention-focused, health care professionals are better able to not only stabilize disease, but more importantly, prevent it from happening. DQI’s unique, hands-on approach of working directly with their partners allows them to facilitate oral health and support partners’ efforts to improve patient care.
“When it comes to our partnerships, we use the definition that if you care about somebody’s health, you care about their oral health,” said Dr. Sean Boynes, Director of Interprofessional Practice at DQI. “It’s not just a dentist who is an oral health care provider, it’s anybody who takes an interest in facilitating overall health, recognizing that the teeth and gums are part of the body.”
Included in DQI’s list of partners are State Offices of Rural Health (SORH). The Institute has been around for a while, but their focus on rural health is new. Their first initiative with a specific focus on rural health is MORE Care (Medical Oral Expanded Care). The idea behind MORE Care is to address rural health disparities by reaching out to primary care providers in rural health clinics (RHC) to integrate oral health within the practice and enable the coordination of care by linking them with dental care teams in rural communities.
DQI partnered with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health and Medical University of South Carolina for Phase 1 of the More Care initiative in 2015. Using their experiences from Phase 1, MORE Care began Phase 2 of the pilot by expanding into Colorado and Pennsylvania. With support from the Colorado Rural Health Center and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, they are further examining oral health integration strategies and the development of dental referral networks. In addition, toolkits and online practicums are currently being developed with the goal of eventually employing them across the country.
“The ultimate goal of the project is to form interprofessional oral health networks comprised of care pathways, which are both integrated and coordinated, for patients,” said Boynes. “At the end of the day, we think about the rural person and their ability to access a completed care pathway. We see RHCs as leaders in these rural communities to help facilitate this with their dental care team partners.”
Dr. Boynes, who previously practiced at a rural FQHC in South Carolina, understands the challenges that face rural and underserved communities and brings that experience to his work at DQI.
“The states are very different and the rural environment is not an easy environment to conquer, but the Institute shares the interest of the SORHs and NOSORH to improve the health of rural communities in the United States. We’re committed to going into rural communities and trying to change them on a wide scope to improve their health.”
The first white paper on the MORE Care project is slated to be released later this month. For more information on the DentaQuest Institute, please visit their website at www.dentaquestinstitute.org. For a full listing of NOSORH sponsors, click here.