Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Impact of School Sealant Programs Report Released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report, “Impact of School Sealant Programs on Oral Health Among Youth and Identification of Potential Barriers to Implementation.” This is the first study to examine children’s cavity risk and school dental sealant program impact in CDC-funded states. This study found that for every four sealants placed, one cavity is prevented. Increasing access to school sealant programs could reduce cavities, especially for children at higher risk for poor oral health.

Click here to learn more.

Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact: Your Input is Needed!

The National Center for Interstate Compacts within the Council of State Governments shared a resource on the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, a project funded by the Department of Defense. The Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact is an interstate occupational licensure compact, which is a constitutionally authorized, legally binding, and legislatively enacted contract among states. The compact will enable licensed dental providers to practice in all states participating in the compact, rather then requiring providers to get individual licenses in each state. Interstate compacts already exist for emergency medical service officials, physical therapists, and other medical professionals.

Please review the draft interstate compact and submit comments via the survey. 

Click here for more information.
Click here to review the draft.
Click here to submit comments.

Funding Opportunity: Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan Mini-Grants

PCOH is requesting proposals for the 2022-2023 Oral Health Plan Mini-Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the implementation of the goals and recommendations of the 2020-2030 Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan, as well as to advance the oral health of all Pennsylvanians. Requests may not exceed $4,000 with applications due by September 28 at 5:00 pm.

Click here to view the guidelines.
Click here to apply.

Funding for this project is through the Pennsylvania Department of Health through Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by CDC, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Oral Health In Rural Pennsylvania: Why Is It Such a Problem?

On August 3, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association held a webinar on oral health in rural Pennsylvania as part of its Special Topics in Rural Health 2022 Webinar Series hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-PA 65th District) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-PA 50th District).  Helen Hawkey, Executive Director of the PA Coalition for Oral Health, gave an in-depth overview of oral health access and workforce in rural Pennsylvania and provided compelling statistics and maps to illustrate the disparities in oral health in rural areas of the state.

See below for links to the presentation and the recording.

Presentation:  Oral Health in Rural Pennsylvania. 8.3.22

Recording:  Oral Health In Rural Pennsylvania

Oral Health Workforce Report Released by Pennsylvania Oral Health Coalition

PCOH has released a workforce report that finds a major decrease in dental workforce, including a staggering decrease in dental assistants. The “Access to Oral Health Workforce Report” uncovers that many Pennsylvania counties are struggling to maintain recommended worker levels. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, rural areas and Medicaid provider networks have seen the sharpest reductions in care providers. This will result in limited access and delayed care for Pennsylvanians, especially those in rural communities. The report also evaluates education and training programs, state tax and local income losses, the impact of COVID-19 relief programs, and dental – Health Professional Shortage Areas (d-HPSAs).

Click here to download the report.

Pennsylvania Medicaid Changes Coming. Help Spread the Word, Access Oral Health Resources

PCOH is distributing resources for Medicaid HealthChoices members and dental providers to explain the upcoming changes to the HealthChoices program. Pennsylvania is updating the contracts they have with insurance/health plans that serve PA Medicaid members and some of the current plans that providers may participate with will no longer be available in certain regions.  Changes go into effect on September 1, 2022.

Please share the resources with your networks to ensure members and providers understand the upcoming changes. The member resource will also be available in Spanish.

Click here to request printed resources.
Click here for the member resource.
Click here for the provider resource.

Academy of Pediatrics Solicits Input into Oral Health Direction

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Oral Health is asking stakeholders to complete a survey on the effectiveness of oral health initiatives/Campaign for Dental Health, priorities for future directions, and resources needed to improve management of oral health promotion, disease prevention, and early childhood caries. The AAP seeks to strengthen oral health initiatives:

  1.  In the wake of the pandemic.
  2. As part of the AAP Equity Agenda
  3. Because children continue to see a pediatric or primary care provider or other trusted community member long before they see a dental professional and during the years in which prevention of dental disease is optimal.

The survey deadline is July 15.

Click here to complete the survey.