Palm Beach County Oral Health Coalition
The Palm Beach County Oral Health Coalition (PBCOHC) became a local initiative in 2007 as a result of the outcomes of a Dental Sealant pilot project sponsored by the Palm Beach County Health Department (PBCHD). The PBCHD data verified that a large number of children screened for the sealant project could not be administered dental sealants due to the presence of existing cavities. The sharing of this information provided a format for community leaders to discuss what could be done to improve the oral health of residence in Palm Beach County (PBC). Initially, the founding partners of the Coalition met informally to discuss disparities in oral health issues facing the underserved and uninsured populations in Palm Beach County. With continued discussion and interest from the community, they gradually expanded their membership and announced their first formal meeting in July 2007.
Realizing the access to care issue that PBC faced was far greater than previously estimated, the Coalition began to research a variety of state and national coalition models. After careful review of the strategic plan of the statewide, Oral Health Florida (OHF), the Coalition agreed to adopt its first goals that included; prevention and education, early intervention and treatment, and advocacy.
Since its inception in 2007, the PBCOHC has received administrative and financial support from the Quantum Foundation. In November, 2008 the Foundation formally requested that the Florida Public Health Institute (FPHI) accept all administration and facilitation responsibilities for the organization. In January of 2009, the PBCOHC held a strategic planning session and adopted their mission statement, “To improve the oral health of all residents in Palm Beach County in order to improve overall health”. The coalition members chose to enhance the three original goals to; fluoridation and prevention, education and community messaging and access/treatment.
The PBCOHC partnership has initiated the expansion of dental health education programs, statewide advocacy efforts and access to care. County wide successes consist of: the development of the Palm Beach County Oral Health Services Resource Guide, a web based resource center developed by Palm Beach State College that supports local and state health information, a coalition resource web based tool box for the State Oral Health Coalition, and an educational partnership with local pediatricians and FQHC’s to apply preventive fluoride varnish in medical settings. In addition, the PBCOHC, with the assistance of the Fluoridation Coordinator for the Florida Department of Health, and the Palm Beach Health Department has led a county-wide campaign aimed at increasing the level of community water fluoridation.
Presently the Coalition is working with over twenty community partners to provide oral health resources to the underserved and uninsured populations in Palm Beach County. The Coalition continues to expand their local, state and national partnerships and work on developing strategies centered on oral health disparities. FPHI and the PBCOHC through the generous support of DentaQuest Foundation worked with The Frameworks Institute located in Washington, DC, as well as local and state coalitions throughout Florida to develop a statewide message to address the direct relationship between oral health and overall health as well as building coalition activities. This campaign will carry a unified message of a Healthy Mouth promotes a Healthy Body.
Future projects include; collaborations with the Palm Beach County Health Department dental program to increase access to care, and partnership with the local school district to expand oral health education and awareness. Additionally, FPHI has collaborated with the Children’s Dental Health Project to develop a web based tool centered on identifying Policy Options to Improve Children’s Oral Health as it relates to Medicaid and CHIP.
For Important Resources, Updates, and Oral Health Information, please click the links below:
The School District of Palm Beach County Wellness Promotion 2009 Annual Report
The School District of Palm Beach County Wellness Promotion 2010 Annual Report
The School District of Palm Beach County Wellness Promotion 2011 Annual Report
The School District of Palm Beach County Wellness Promotion 2012 Annual Report