About the Oral Health Section

The Oral Health Section works within APHA to promote important oral health issues. The Section has sponsored many resolutions that support dental public health policies, programs, and practices. Selected issues important to dental public healthers and promoted in APHA policies include: Community Water Fluoridation, the Framework for Action on Oral Health in America from the Report of the Surgeon General, Effective Interventions for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health, Evidence-Based Dental Care, First Oral Health Assessment, Reducing Oral Health Complications for Individuals with Diabetes, Domestic Violence Screening, Identification, and Referral by Dental Health Professionals, Mouthguards for Oro-Facial Injury Prevention, Dental Sealants, Preventing the Transmission of Bloodborne Pathogens, and other topics. APHA offers opportunities for promoting the integration of oral health in public health and facilitates interactions among public health colleagues from diverse disciplines and organizations. In addition, APHA advocates for public health issues and plays an active role in several national health coalitions, including the Friends of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the CDC Coalition.

Since the inception of the Oral Health Section, members have served as leaders on APHA councils, committees, and editorial boards. Three Oral Health Section members, Caswell Evans, Myron Allukian and John Knutson, have served as APHA President. Each year the APHA Oral Health Section bestows the John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health and recognizes eminent contributions to public health and oral health. In 2006 the Section launched the annual Anthony Westwater Jong Memorial Community Dental Health Awards.

Maintaining a strong and active Oral Health Section within APHA is important. The APHA's priority issues are also our issues: improving access to care, eliminating health disparities, and rebuilding the public health infrastructure. We need to maintain a strong presence within APHA in order to advocate for oral health and ensure that APHA includes oral health as part of these larger health issues. For example, when talking about the uninsured, cite the lack of dental insurance. When recommending new publicly financed insurance programs, include dental insurance as part of the package. When highlighting the need to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, recognize the severity of oral health disparities and include oral health in their research, intervention and policy recommendations.

To find out more about the Section's work and members use the links on the left.