"Dental health is a key component of overall health and well-being, and we want Kentucky's children to have the healthy start in life they deserve,”
Governor Steve Beshear
In recent years, the Kentucky Oral Health Program received federal grants that supported 24 counties to create community coalitions aimed at improving dental health among children and adults throughout Kentucky. Currently, more funding is allowing up to 10 more coalitions to be established in Kentucky.
The announced awards are a component of the groundbreaking three-year initiative Gov. Beshear announced in fall 2009 with a goal of improving quality and access to dental care across the region, using $1.6 million in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The other major component of the initiative involves developing specialized training for dentists in pediatric techniques and providing training to increase the number of dental providers who treat children.
The first series of grants awarded through the ARC and the Kentucky Oral Health Program in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) provided $10,000 in start-up funding for oral health community coalitions in the following ARC-designated distressed counties: Estill, Floyd, Hart, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Magoffin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Robertson and Whitley.
The second series of grant awards is funded through HRSA's Targeted State MCH Oral Health Services Systems (TOHSS) program, which supports the state's capacity to expand preventive and restorative oral health service programs for Medicaid and KCHIP eligible children, as well as other underserved children and families. The following grantees will receive $10,000 of TOHSS seed funding: Anderson, Boyd, Franklin, Jefferson, Jessamine, Logan, Madison, Marshall, Pike and Woodford counties, as well as the Madisonville area and the Purchase District Health Department.
The third series of grant awards will support up to ten more oral health coalitions in the remaining ARC-designated distressed counties in the spring of 2012.
The ultimate goals of both grants are to assure access to needed dental treatment and will begin developing the partnerships needed to help assure that dental providers and services are available.
For more information, please contact Dr. Julie Watts McKee, Kentucky Oral Health Program, phone (502) 564-3246, ext. 4421.