Improving Oral Health Throughout Louisiana
Well-Ahead Louisiana organized the Louisiana Oral Health Coalition in 2010 with a vision of supporting a Louisiana where people of all ages have excellent oral health. The Coalition’s first major action was the creation of a state plan for improving the oral health of Louisiana residents. Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Coalition maintains a joint State Action Plan as a method to connect agencies, establish collaborations and reach more of the state’s population.
The Louisiana Oral Health Coalition is committed to addressing four major components to improve oral health in our state—access, policy, prevention and workforce issues driven by data surveillance, and evaluation.
Increase access to quality, comprehensive and continuous oral health services for all Louisiana residents throughout their life stages.
The policy workgroups work to influence policy, environmental or systems change and maintain continuous visibility to support, advocate and collaborate on relevant oral health matters.
The prevention workgroups, which include the Dental Sealant Workgroup and Fluoride/Fluoridation Workgroup, improve and maintain oral health and prevent the progression of oral disease through evidence-based interventions that address risk factors and at-risk populations.
Workforce and Partnerships
The workforce workgroups support efforts to ensure the preparation, recruitment and retention of an oral health workforce that is adequate and skilled to help better serve the state’s population.
Mission of the Oral Health Coalition
To coordinate the provision of information, resources and services so that people of all ages can have excellent oral health.
State Action Plan for Oral Health
The 2018-2023 State Action Plan provides direction for achieving priorities set forth by key stakeholders representing individual oral health champions and multiple organizations from across the state. Benefits include networking, better utilization of resources, increased visibility of oral health issues and engaging new stakeholders. Through 2023, the Louisiana Oral Health Coalition will sustain their commitment to accomplishing these strategies and activities.
Annual Oral Health Summit
The Annual Oral Health Summit brings together stakeholders including dental clinicians, community advocates, local/state municipalities, students, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), public health workers, academia, and policy makers with a vested interest to improve oral health outcomes for all.
The 2021 half-day virtual event highlighted opportunities to advance health equity. Attendees participated in engaging sessions to learn more about the gaps in oral health care access for low-income children and families, and how to improve oral health equity by reducing disparities and expanding access to low effective preventive practices.
Other Ways to Improve Oral Health for Everyone
Because oral health is essential to overall health and well-being, the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) has organized across the country to ensure healthier outcomes for everyone. OPEN is a network of individuals and organizations committed to social justice and health equity.