243321 School- and community-based model to eliminate oral health disparities

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 11:15 AM

Anne Marie O'Keefe, PhD, JD , School of Community Health & Policy, Morgan State Univertsity, Baltimore, MD
In February 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver died of dental caries while his mother tried desperately to find a dentist to treat him. The family had recently lost its Medicaid coverage and was living in a shelter. Award-winning Washington Post reporter Mary Otto chronicled the terrible story of a boy who could have been saved by an $80 tooth extraction, but who died needlessly after $250,000 of brain surgeries. The story focused the attention of advocates and policymakers who vowed to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again. Two practicing dentists recruited their patients and friends and, together with the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society Foundation launched the Deamonte Driver Dental Project. They worked with public officials and secured almost $300,000 during the 2008 Maryland Legislative Session to build and customize a vehicle to screen, triage, treat what they could, and refer students to dental homes within 15 minutes of their schools. They organized a network of Dentists In Action who all agreed to accept uninsured, underinsured and Medicaid patients. And they worked with the principals, teachers, administrators, school nurses and parents at the Title I schools targeted for services from the van to get the students ready. Now in its third year of operation, the van is fulfilling its mission to stamp out the silent epidemic of tooth decay, the number one chronic disease in children. Working with the state Office of Oral Health, the project has helped move Maryland from last to near the top in public oral health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how dental providers and other volunteers worked with communities, schools and elected officials to provide dental care to students in Title I schools. 2. Describe how Maryland changed its laws and regulations to meet the oral health needs of its poorest residents.

Keywords: Oral Health Needs, School-Based Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have served on the Advisory Committee for the Deamonte Driver Dental Project since its inception.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.