American Public Health Association
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Oral Health
Section Newsletter
Spring 2006

Message from the Section Chair

Dear fellow Oral Health Section members,

I hope that the beginning of summer 2006 finds you and your programs, agencies and institutions with support to successfully move forward the public health agendas that you have helped to craft and promote. I had the good fortune to be part of a conference call this morning (June 12) led by Brian Williams and Kate Sweeney from the APHA Governmental Relations Office. They stated that a House committee has just passed an Appropriations version that restores all the proposed public health cuts. Although it is only a first step, it now needs to go before a full House for support and then through all of the Senate procedures. APHA staff felt hopeful in that there has been a good history/record of support from the Senate for public health efforts. Cuts were restored to the CDC, and additional funding was dedicated above the presidential budget request to maternal-child health programs, infectious diseases, health promotion, and Title 7 & 8 funding. There were reductions in environmental and global health programs so we need to keep focus there. There was a strong sense that the “Public Health message is being heard,” and thanks are given for everyone’s grass roots education efforts.

There was a request for people to pay attention and participate in the “PH ACT” or Public Health Action Campaign. There is information on this campaign at the Web site. There are fact sheets to help you craft the message locally and in your states with data and facts about public health efforts. One of the questions that we all can ask every political candidate as they campaign for any position is, “What are you doing to fund public health?” There are many other important things we can do as well:

  • Make sure that when you attend the APHA Annual Meeting in Boston that you register for an absentee ballot for the November election. You can follow the process to do this on the Web site.
  • APHA is asking for recommendations for The Legislator of the Year Award. They are going to make about three awards a year. Please submit the names (local, state or national legislators) to Brian Williams or Kate Sweeney for consideration, and tell them WHY you’re recommending recognition for that person’s efforts.
  • When your representatives leave Washington and go home in August, this is seen as an opportune time to make appointments with them in their home areas, and discuss your concerns and recommendations for improving the public’s health.
  • APHA is also asking for you to communicate how proposed budgets are affecting your programs. They welcome your stories and input. Please go to and fill in your picture.

I am eagerly anticipating attending the American Academy of Pediatrics Oral Health Initiative Project Advisory Committee/Steering Committee Meeting June 15 – 16 in Washington, D.C., representing the Oral Health Section. The work group will recommend system improvements to reduce oral health disparities in early childhood. It is an honor to represent our Section with representatives of ASTDD, ASTDD, AAP, CMS, American Academy of Family Practice, Children’s Dental Health Project, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, American Dental Hygienists Association and many others. I will keep everyone posted on the recommendations of this group.

The New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Dental Health, received a grant from the CDC and has created a state oral health plan. A major focus of New York’s Oral Health Plan is announcing and promoting the new standards and guidelines for incorporating oral health prevention and treatment strategies into obstetrical, pediatric, family and primary care practices in all health care delivery systems and educational institutions. It is very exciting for me as the executive director for Maternal-Infant Services Network of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, Inc., to think of ways to invite new partners and expand our existing coalitions, and discover ways to measure the results of our prevention efforts and treatment interventions.

Oral Health Section leadership has continued to work with APHA governance structure and with our resolution, to be clear and supportive of the Alaskan Dental Health Therapist Aide efforts. We seek alignment and synergy with everyone to bring services and resources that will empower the Alaskan people to decrease their burden of oral disease, and evaluate and measure all efforts.

Thanks to each and every one of you for the great work that you do on behalf of our communities. Please keep us posted at the Section of the work you are doing. Don’t be shy. Brag! Strut! Send some photos and stories. Thanks again for the giving and the sharing.

I look forward to seeing you all in Boston, Nov. 4 – 8, for APHA's Annual Meeting "Public Health and Human Rights". It will be an amazing meeting. Thanks to the conference committee, which has put together great sessions and posters. There are traditional awards and new awards recognizing innovation and leadership. Plus you’re a fun group to hang out and celebrate with. Please don’t hesitate to write me with your ideas and suggestions at or .

Best wishes for a great summer with family, friends and colleagues.


Cooperation with ASTDD

The Section leadership met with the Executive Committee of ASTDD at the National Oral Health Conference to discuss how the organizations could cooperate in improving oral health. Key areas of discussion included:

  • Publicizing the work of ASTDD to a wider public health audience.
  • Presenting ASTDD's work at the APHA Annual Meeting.
  • Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapists.
The organizations will continue to cooperate together through our liason representative Julie Janssen. A number of the section leadership also got together at NOHC for a mid year meeting to discuss arrangements for the November Annual Meeting and recent developments in oral health.

HSR Impact Award

Has your research made a difference, or do you know research that has?

The HSR Impact Award recognizes health services research that has made a positive impact on health policy and/or practice that has been successfully translated into health policy, management, or clinical practice. Submit your nominations today!

  • Lead researcher receives $2,000.
  • Winning research is published and disseminated as part of the AcademyHealth "HSR Impact" series.
  • Award is presented at the 2007 National Health Policy Conference, Feb. 12-13.
Selection Criteria:

  • Quality of research.
  • Effectiveness of research dissemination and translation approach.
  • Impact of the research.

Nominations must be received by Friday, July 28, 2006.

For more information on the HSR Impact Award, please visit or contact Jennifer Muldoon at (202) 292-6700.

Fluoride Varnish Project in Peru

The 2006 Colgate/ADHA Community Outreach Award was presented to the Mohawk Valley Dental Hygienists Association and its president, Oral Health Section member Heidi Philley, RDH. The Award was recognition of the "Andean Fluoride Varnish and Dental Health Education" program. This outreach program was a partnership of VEDA, the Pediatric Dental Society of Peru and the AS IS Bible Clubs, located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, near the city of Huanaco.

Heidi Philley, and five other women (family and friends) traveled to the city of Huanaco in the Andes Mountains, where her sister and husband (linguists and Bible Translators) have their home and have worked for over 30 years. Heidi designed a Fluoride Varnish program and Mohawk Dental Hygienists Association contributed dental supplies to the project. Her church donated over 800 toothbrushes. For one week, she and her companions helped train and educate the Bible Club leaders on how to apply the Fluoride Varnish to the children's teeth. Heidi's niece and daughter (both Spanish speaking) did the Dental Health Education component in the schools and clubs. A pediatric dentistry resident joined them to collect screening data for the Pediatric Dental Society of Peru. Over 500 impoverished children had fluoride varnish applied to their teeth; another application will be done later this year, thanks to the generous donation of fluoride varnish from Omnii Oral Pharmaceuticals.

Few of the children seen had a dental experience of any kind, so the $2,000 award will be used for dental treatment for these under-served children. It was wonderful to see children having a positive experience, with an effective preventive dental procedure carried out in a familiar setting. The OSAP "Guide for Safety and Infection Control, For Oral Healthcare Missions" was used to ensure safety and infection control for all program participants.

Medicaid: How can it help to improve oral health of poor children?

Piyali Roy, BDS, an MPH student at Southern Illinois University and a student member of APHA and the Orah Health Section, has written a paper on the impact of Medicaid on children's oral health. The paper is available on the section Web site at: .

Piyali Roy would welcome comments and input.

Register to vote with absentee ballot

This year's election day (Nov. 7, 2006) will happen during the APHA Annual Meeting in Boston. Make your voice heard in the ballot box by registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot before your state deadline! Click here for more information:

Dental Public Health Listserv

Where can you find discussion of important issues in public health dentistry? Find answers to your questions? Be kept up to date with new developments? Find job postings? On the dental public health listserv, run by Bob Weyant and given courtesy space on the University of Pittsburgh server. It is open to anyone with an interest in oral health and public health.

To subscribe, send an e-mail from the address you wish to use for the list with the word subscribe in the body of the text (leave the Subject line blank) to: