On Friday, November 20, 2015, the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition (KOHC) held the first statewide oral health summit in the state in nearly four years. The theme of this year’s summit was “Reconnect, Evaluate, and Look Forward.” Throughout the day, summit participants had the opportunity to learn and share information, network, and work with fellow oral health advocates to prioritize public policy efforts. We would like to extend a very sincere thank you to all of the 200 partners, attendees, and sponsors who helped make this event a success!
To kick-off the day, Dr. Nikki Stone, Chair of KOHC, warmly welcomed attendees to the event and reminded participants that it takes “all types” of people and professions to form an effective coalition. She emphasized the vast array of oral health advocates present by asking professionals from different sectors to stand—dentists, students, teachers, school resource coordinators, nurses, university faculty, social workers, and more. In fact, if you care about oral health in Kentucky and haven’t joined KOHC, there are a variety of membership options available for individuals, students, and organizations.
A number of presenters, speakers, and panelists contributed to an engaging and informative oral health summit:
- Dr. Michael Glick provided the keynote address and reviewed the connections between oral infections and general health, as well as strategies to discuss these connections with patients, clients, and students.
- Next, Dr. Julie McKee and Commissioner Lisa Lee reviewed the current outcomes, needs, and future directions of oral health in Kentucky.
- Delta Dental of Kentucky’s CEO, Dr. Cliff Maesakea presented Former Governor Steve Beshear, Dr. Laura Hancock Jones, and Dr. Jim Cecil with Oral Health Champion awards in recognition of their contributions to improved oral health in the state.
- Following the awards, Bill Goodman, KET public affairs host and managing editor, moderated a discussion with panelists Dr. Glick, Dr. Stone, Eva Stone, and Representative Tom Burch to explore the future of oral health in Kentucky.
- The panel then led to a policy prioritization activity, which involved participants sharing their thoughts, ideas, and proposals and collaboratively identifying oral health policy priorities.
- Dr. Stone offered closing remarks and invited all attendees to the KOHC annual meeting.