Louisville, KY (December 2nd, 2015) – Delta Dental of Kentucky’s charitable initiative, Making Smiles Happen, launched a statewide oral health surveillance project today in Bullitt County. The initiative will screen the oral health of students in schools across Kentucky. The project is a partnership with Delta Dental of Kentucky’s charitable initiative Making Smiles Happen, Kentucky Youth Advocates, the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and several other local and statewide partners.
“We are proud to support this initiative because we firmly believe that the well-being of our children is the key to the future health and success of our families, communities, and businesses,” said Delta Dental of Kentucky’s President & CEO, Dr. Cliff Maesaka. “Data is the only real tool to level set with respect to oral health. In order to improve, we need to know where we’re starting. If we know where we are, we can measure improvement. That is what this surveillance project is all about."
The Making Smiles Happen Surveillance Initiative is an oral health survey of third and sixth grade students with a goal to better understand the oral health needs for Kentucky’s youth. This is the first statewide surveillance project since 2001, which was conducted by the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
“We at Kentucky Youth Advocates know that what gets measured gets changed. Current data helps highlight the extent of issues facing Kentucky children and know when we’ve started moving the needle in the right direction,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director at Kentucky Youth Advocates. “We applaud Delta Dental of Kentucky for supporting this important surveillance initiative and are proud to be a partner in this project.
The findings will help inform oral health policies and programs for children for years to come.” The 18-month project will screen approximately 6,000 third and sixth graders in 60 counties across the state.
The results of the initiative will include regional and statewide data to help determine where to target initiatives to improve the oral health of children across the state. The Making Smiles Happen Surveillance Initiative will be conducted using a standardized model developed by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The surveillance model will have two basic components which includes the direct observation of a child’s mouth and a parent questionnaire that will provide consent, dental and medical insurance information, and other general information about the child being screened.
The oral health screenings will be conducted in partnership with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry where dentists from their program will be executing the screenings. “The University Of Louisville School Of Dentistry is eager to partner with Delta Dental of Kentucky, the KYA and the Kentucky school districts to obtain a current, accurate assessment of the oral health status of children in the Commonwealth. This data will provide important milestones in strategically planning the most critical needs and the most efficient and cost effective treatment and prevention measures that should be implemented to ensure the health of Kentucky’s children,” said Dean Sauk, University of Louisville School of Dentistry.
Several additional organizations are partnering on the project such as the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition. "There is a growing awareness among educators about the importance of good oral health to success in school. When a child has a toothache, it is hard to concentrate in school. This project will help address oral health needs among children so they can better focus on the classroom," said Dr. Tom Shelton, executive director at the Kentucky Association of School
Superintendents. “During the first meetings of the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition, it was obvious that data was needed to assess our starting point,” said Dr. Laura Hancock-Jones, chair of the Kentucky Oral Health Coalition and University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Public Health Division’s Western Kentucky Dental Outreach. “I am very pleased to see all the partnerships who are helping bring the surveillance project from vision to action.”
An Advisory Committee has been appointed to oversee the 18-month project and consists of representatives from Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Dental Association, Kentucky Department of Public Health: Oral Health Division , Kentucky Dental Hygienist Association , Kentucky Oral Health Coalition, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. About Delta Dental of Kentucky’s Making Smiles HappenSM
Making Smiles Happen is Delta Dental of Kentucky’s commitment to serving the community and its residents one smile at a time. Aimed with the task of promoting oral health to the residents of Kentucky, Making Smiles Happen provides charitable support to a variety of non-profit partners. Giving back is a core component of the culture at Delta Dental and Making Smiles Happen allows them to support, not only groups aimed at improving oral health, but non-profits important to our employees and the communities they serve. And while their primary focus is to ensure that Kentuckians of all ages have exceptional access to oral care, they are open to partnering with any organization that supports a healthy lifestyle and an improved well being.
About Delta Dental of Kentucky: Delta Dental of Kentucky is part of a family of companies that collectively is among the largest, most experienced dental plan administrators in the nation: Delta Dental Plans Association. In 2013, the enterprise paid out nearly $3 billion for dental care for 12.1 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos and Farmington, Hills, Mich.; Sherwood and Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.
For more information visit, deltadentalky.com.
COUNTIES TO BE SCREENED IN THE 2015-2016 ORAL HEALTH SURVEY DELTA DENTAL OF KENTUCKY MAKING SMILES HAPPEN SURVEILLANCE INITIATIVE
Oral health care is integral to overall health and wellness and affects a child’s success in learning and job prospects later in life. In order to improve oral health outcomes, we must monitor the status of oral health in Kentucky’s population. Conducting a statewide surveillance is essential for setting achievable objectives, as well as, for planning, implementing, and evaluating current oral health programs and initiatives. The most recent children’s oral health surveillance in Kentucky was completed in 2001. With support from the Delta Dental of Kentucky Foundation, Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) is working with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and other key partners to conduct a surveillance to identify the current status of child oral health and recommendations for improving oral health among children. As you know, a healthy mouth is part of total health and makes a child more ready to learn.
Making Smiles Happen will be conducted using a standardized model developed by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model helps ensure timeliness, financial efficiency, minimum burden on survey participants, and technical support to compare data within and between states. The surveillance model has two basic components: 1) direct observation to a child’s mouth and 2) parent questionnaire that provides consent, dental and medical insurance information, and other general information about the child.
A full-time surveillance coordinator employed by KYA will oversee the 18-month project which is broken into three phases.
PHASE 1 | Plan and implement screening, July 2015 - March 2016
KYA convenes an advisory committee of key stakeholder groups including the Department of Public Health – Oral Health Division to agree on project design and obtains IRB approval through the University of Louisville. Using the regional breakouts from the 2001 survey: Louisville, Northern Kentucky, Central Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, KYA draws a random sample of 60 public elementary and middle schools and obtains consent from superintendents to participate in the survey. A trained dentist screens roughly 6,000 3rd and 6th graders, (whose parents have completed consent forms and a parent questionnaire), to look for the presence of dental caries and sealants. Each child in the selected 3rd or 6th grade will receive a toothbrush, sticker and a letter to take home that tells you about the health of the child’s teeth.
PHASE 2 | Compile and analyze findings, March 2016 – May 2016
Dr. Grant Smith, an Assistant Professor at Bellarmine University who specializes in quantitative data analysis compiles the screening data and analyzes the results to produce a summary of the data and key findings. Data is analyzed at a statewide level and for each of the five regions. A research team of oral health experts advises Dr. Smith on data interpretation and key findings.
PHASE 3 | Design, produce and disseminate findings, June 2016 - October 2016
KYA produces the results in an easy to understand and professionally designed publication to be distributed across the state. The publication is disseminated to local and statewide leaders, legislators, county executives and oral health professionals. The data from the survey is shared with the Department for Public Health and submitted to the National Oral Health Surveillance System, a collaborative effort between CDC’s Division of Oral Health and ASTDD.
PROJECT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Representatives from the following organizations serve on the advisory committee for the Making Smiles Happen project:
• Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
• Kentucky Dental Association
• Kentucky Department of Public Health: Oral Health Division
• Kentucky Dental Hygienist Association
• Kentucky Oral Health Coalition
• Kentucky Youth Advocates
• Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative
• University of Louisville School of Dentistry
• University of Kentucky College of Dentistry
The Making Smiles Happen surveillance initiative is made possible with a grant from the Delta Dental of Kentucky Foundation.
Mahak Kalra, Oral Health Policy Director
Kentucky Youth Advocates
phone | 502.895.8167 ex. 114
e-mail | Mkalra@kyyouth.org
GIVING BACK IS A CORE COMPONENT OF OUR CULTURE AT DELTA DENTAL
Beginning in 2015, the Delta Dental of Kentucky charitable initiative Making Smiles Happen has allowed us to increase our support to groups aimed at improving oral health throughout the Commonwealth, as well as supporting non-profits important to our employees and the communities we serve. One main intuitive of Making Smiles Happen is providing financial support in the form of a charitable donation to a variety of non-profit partners focused on ensuring children and adults in Kentucky have access to oral care and oral health education.
As we grow the Making Smiles Happen program, we aim for even more community involvement throughout Kentucky. To date, Delta Dental of Kentucky has awarded grants to more than fifty organizations statewide. Along with the financial support to approved charities, our employees commit their time and energy community and charitable events throughout the state. Though oral health is our primary mission, we are committed to being a good corporate citizen and Making Smiles Happen.
To learn more, visit DeltaDentalKY.com.
Students prepare for their cleaning
Student Sarah Malone received Delta Dental's services
The Wayne County School District thanks the professionals for administering these cleanings
Alexis Evans-Hunter, Hunter Bell, and Jason Little were included in the program