Oral Health is once again at the forefront of public health activities in Arkansas.
The Office of Oral Health in the Arkansas Department of Health has recently been awarded two Federal grants to support oral health activities in the state.
The funding is designed to improve basic state oral health services including program leadership and staff support, monitoring oral disease risk factors, and developing and evaluating disease prevention programs such as community water fluoridation and school-based sealant programs.
Arkansas’s funding of $268,745 will be used to promote community water fluoridation and dental sealants, support the Office of Oral Health education and dental screening activities, and support the state oral health surveillance system.
Arkansas is one of only sixteen states to receive the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State-Based Oral Disease Prevention Program Cooperative agreements. The 16 states will receive a total of $4.6 million over the next year and approximately $22 million over the next five years to strengthen their oral health programs and improve the oral health of their residents.
The new cooperative agreements range from $234,408 to $355,000 per year and are renewable for up to 5 years. The other states receiving these awards are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
“The states receiving these awards have documented significant challenges related to the oral health of their citizens,” stated William R. Maas, DDS, MPH, director of the CDC Division of Oral Health.
The Federal Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that Arkansas received the Year Three grant for Oral Health Workforce Development. Only 18 states receive the workforce grants. Through cooperative efforts with various partner organizations and agencies, the Office of Oral Health is addressing workforce needs for dentists and dental hygienists.
The award of $100,349 will again be used to support efforts in recruitment of dental professionals to underserved areas, increase awareness for the Language Line telephone translation services, promote family violence prevention within dentistry, address treating special needs patients, and promote dental careers in minority colleges and rural areas of Arkansas.
Partners in the oral health workforce development grant are community health centers in Arkansas, Delta Dental of Arkansas, Farm Bureau, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and UAMS Partners for Inclusive Communities.
“We are honored to be selected as one of just a handful of states to receive both of these Federal grants,” reports Dr. Lynn Douglas Mouden, Director of the Office of Oral Health. “This support is an indication of what Arkansas can accomplish in oral health, but also represents the great need we have in dental public health preventive and workforce issues.”
For more information on the Oral Health programs at the Arkansas Department of Health website.