The purpose of the Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr. Award for Champions of Oral Health is to recognize a group of people, a program, or an individual who have distinguished themselves through actions to promote the oral health of Ohio’s children at a community or state level. The first award was presented in December, 1992 and has been awarded annually to a deserving person or group.
CINCINNATI (March 6, 2017) — Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr. served as the Chief of the Division of Maternal and Child Health, Ohio Department of Health from December 1980 to January 1993. Dr. Quilty knew that oral health was an important part of health and under his leadership, the Department’s dental program grew in size and stature until it was recognized as one of the outstanding state dental public health programs in the United States. If not for Dr. Quilty, and his support for oral health programs, many more Ohio children would suffer tooth decay and its sequelae.
In November, 1992, when Dr. Quilty announced his departure from ODH, the Bureau of Dental Health voted to establish the Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr. Award for Champions of Oral Health. The purpose is to recognize a group of people, a program, or an individual who have distinguished themselves through actions to promote the oral health of Ohio’s children at a community or state level. The first award was presented in December, 1992 and has been awarded annually to a deserving person or group.
The 2016 nomination of Dr. Vinod Miriyala highlighted the avenues taken, as well as the commitment necessary, in order to establish a local source of high quality ambulatory and general anesthesia care for underserved children in southern Ohio.
A northwest Ohio mother of two walked to the front of a crowded room at a recent Voices for Ohio’s Children’s Kids Talk presentation and courageously shared her family’s story on how they improved their overall health through access to dental coverage. She described how obtaining access to oral health services had improved her and her husband’s overall health, employment prospects, and self-esteem. The mother also described how it had improved her children’s oral health because they were seeing the dentist on a regular basis. And, she shared how her family’s outlook on life had improved and how grateful they were to have access to such resources.
As this mother shared her family’s powerful story, the impact was clear on the faces of the policy makers in the room as they recognized the importance of children’s oral health as a priority issue for the Ohio General Assembly.
In Ohio, dental care is the number-one unmet health care need for children. In fact, 51% of Ohio third graders have experienced tooth decay and 340,000 Ohio children have never visited a dentist. A mouth left without treatment can affect a child’s health development, self-esteem, and learning.
Voices for Ohio’s Children is a non-partisan organization that helps ensure that the needs of Ohio’s 3 million children are prioritized at the local, state, and federal levels. One example of how they do this is through the Children’s Oral Health Action Team (COHAT), which is a coalition of 30 organizations – from education and advocacy to health care and dental – who have come together to address the needs of improved children’s oral health in Ohio.
COHAT works to ensure children have healthy teeth and gums by making sure quality oral health care is available to children regardless of family income. The organization does this by educating legislators and the community about pediatric oral health care through activities, such as hosting the Kids Talk series; promoting and supporting early prevention programs to reduce tooth decay; and encouraging regular dental check-ups as early as possible.
Additionally, COHAT works with pediatric and school nurses to advance their important role in screening for oral health needs, and provides education and referrals for treatment. Over the past year, COHAT has provided hundreds of school nurses with an Ohio School Nurse Toolkit, enabling them to organize an oral health program in their school. The toolkit makes a huge impact on how nurses are able to evaluate a child’s oral health, which they wouldn’t have known about without the work of COHAT.
“Often, professionals that work at schools are gatekeepers of children’s health, which is why it’s so vital we provide them with materials that educate them on dental care,” said Dustin McKee, policy and advocacy associate for Voices for Ohio’s Children. “Many of these professionals have received limited dental training. Our programs offer access to materials to provide basic understanding of the screening process and to eliminate anxiety when implementing oral health programs in their schools.”
With funding from the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, COHAT has been able to employ a part-time associate, contract a lobbyist specialist, and create educational materials. As a result, it has raised awareness of the issue and state legislators are now working to improve access to oral health.
Voices for Ohio’s Children is currently hosting several free regional children’s forums for attendees to hear updates on important state issues, share insight on issues children are facing in their communities, and to learn about federal issues impacting children. For more information on how to attend an upcoming conference, visit www.raiseyourvoiceforkids.org.
With the recent news of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, access to quality healthcare is top of mind for many Ohioans. The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio supports organizations such as the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center (JCFSHC) that work to improve health care access for underserved populations.
Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center’s “Free to be Healthy” Diabetic Education Program provides patients an education on their illness and collaboratively makes a plan with them, helping them change unhealthy aspects of their lives.
“Our Free to be Healthy Diabetic Education Program was formed in 2012 after our team realized 24% of patients had been diagnosed with diabetes or metabolic syndrome,” said Ann Quillen, executive director, JCFSHC. “Diabetes is a huge health concern in Ohio, as the Central Ohio Diabetes Association estimates that more than 897,000 Ohioans have the disease.”
The grant from HealthPath helped provide initial health screenings for patients, including blood glucose testing, blood pressure reading, HBA1C, lipid and triglyceride profiles, weight and abdominal girth measurements, and a quality of life assessment. Nurses and doctors have also been able to provide patients with an interdisciplinary care plan to include medication therapy management, patient education, obesity treatment, meal planning, foot and eye care, and follow-up appointments.
As a result of the program, lives have been saved, chronic conditions have been cared for, physical health and patients’ well-being have been improved, and, in many cases, a sense of hope has been restored to the patients of JCFSHC.
(February 24, 2015) February is National Children’s Dental Health Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of oral health.
The funded projects that will increase access to health care, including primary, oral, specialty and behavioral health care.
Grantees will address barriers to health care, such as lack of insurance, lack of providers, language and cultural issues and transportation.
These grants are part of HPF-Ohio’s Community Connections initiative, which awarded 36 grants totaling over $262,180 to nonprofit organizations across the state of Ohio.
Organizations were each awarded regular grants of $5,000 and additional challenge grants of up to $2,500. These challenge grants will match money raised dollar-for-dollar, up to $2,500 total.
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