The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

August 15, 2013

Program restructures oral health delivery for state public schools

— The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health, Oral Health Program (OHP) will finalize implementation of its newly designed oral health education system beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. The new program will use regional oral health coordinators to manage statewide oral health education.

These coordinators are registered public health dental hygienists employed through Marshall University. They will be responsible for providing oral health education training, assist in expanding school-based dental sealant and fluoride projects, promoting good oral hygiene, and working with local water systems on fluoridation.

The West Virginia Oral Health Plan calls for the OHP to work with the West Virginia Department of Education to evaluate and redefine the role of West Virginia’s oral health educators based on state oral health goals and objectives, along with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Preventive Services Guidelines. All of these recommendations were reviewed and applied to the oral health education redesign. The OHP also worked with the Oral Health Advisory Board and other community partners to develop this new system.

The redesigned program will reach more people, encourage grassroots involvement and build community relationships. “The Oral Health Program is excited to embark on this endeavor,” said Dr. Jason Roush, state dental director. “The program looks forward to working closely with West Virginia communities to provide children and their families with the knowledge and resources to achieve a lifetime of good oral health.”