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Message from the Director

Dear <<First Name>>,

This month we are celebrating Children's Oral Health Month (and Pet Oral Health Month, too). We have a lot of news to share, from tips on brushing your furry friends' teeth to the announcement of Oral Health Day 2020, so take a moment to catch up with NCOHC and learn what's going on in the world of oral health!

Be sure to read how the Collaborative is engaging our partners, working to advance policy, and improving access for children in high-need settings across our state. See how our partners are working in schools to improve oral health in Bertie County, and check out a few takeaways from the recent 2020 Public Health Leaders' Conference.

We are at a turning point in North Carolina. Equity is front and center across the public health landscape, and our partners are working hard to take this momentum and channel it into real, effective change. I am looking forward to engaging stakeholders across our state as we work toward great oral health for ALL North Carolinians!


Dr. Zachary Brian

P.S. We are a collaborative organization, so our strength is in our diversity. I have a favor to ask: would you share this newsletter with one friend or colleague? Thanks in advance!

Statewide Updates

Takeaways from the 2020 Public Health Leaders' Conference

In many ways, this year's Public Health Leaders' Conference marks a turning point in North Carolina. The theme of advancing health equity, unified across public health leaders, is a promising change. We sat down with Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation President and CEO Anne Thomas to discuss the conference and her takeaways. Read more here.

Janet Reaves Award

In highlighting the connection between oral and systemic health, the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation's North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative is sponsoring the Janet Reaves Community Achievement Award. This award has been created to recognize a champion in North Carolina who has worked innovatively and collaboratively in the safety-net setting to further the oral health of North Carolina's residents. 

Janet was a tireless advocate for North Carolinians, working statewide to improve the health of those with chronic disease. Her leadership, innovation, and determination established a culture of excellence. Janet excelled at creating partnerships and helped champion innovative quality improvement initiatives that put North Carolina at the forefront in chronic disease management. Janet maintained a positive attitude, inspired others with her spirit and determination, and served as a role model and mentor to many—particularly those with a passion for serving the people of North Carolina. 

This award will be presented during lunch at the North Carolina Community Health Center Association's Clinical Conference on Quality and Chronic Disease on April 9, 2020.

Nominations are being accepted until February 28, 2020 at 5 p.m. Self-nominations are welcome.

Submit nominations via this link or mail the form to:

Kelsey Ross Dew, Program Coordinator
North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative
2401 Weston Pkwy, Suite 203, Cary, NC 27513

Please email Kelsey at with any questions.

(If the link above does not work, please copy and paste the following address into your browser:

What We're Focused on This Month

Healthier Smiles in Bertie County

In a county with only one dentist, school administrators like Fannie Williams encounter children with serious tooth decay daily. Check out how The Duke Endowment and East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine have partnered to work with local schools to improve oral health outcomes in Bertie County, North Carolina. 
Read the full article here.

Children's Oral Health  Month

February is Children's Oral Health Month! Quality preventive treatment is crucial during childhood to ensure sustained, quality oral health throughout life. Be sure to read our partner spotlight on NC Child's Sarah Vidrine below for more information about how we are increasing access for the most underserved in North Carolina. 

Medical-Dental Integration

According to the American Dental Association, 27 million Americans visit a dentist each year but do not see a physician. 

In his weekly newsletter, the Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, Real Admiral Timothy Ricks, DMD, discussed the need for dental practices to begin screening for depression, diabetes, and blood pressure, as well as providing vaccinations and engaging patients about the dangers of opioids. 

We believe that integrated care models are necessary as we continue to work toward more comprehensive and equitable care. That integration must happen in medical practices and dental practices alike, especially as we continue to see further evidence of the oral-systemic connection.

To sign up for Rear Admiral Ricks' newsletter, send an email to
Catch up on our three-part series on the oral-systemic connection, "Healthy Mouth, Healthy Pregnancy."

Partner Spotlight

Sarah Vidrine

Last month we sat down with NC Child's Sarah Vidrine to discuss the recent Rule 16W Change and how it will impact children's oral health in North Carolina. As we celebrate Children's Oral Health Month, we are excited about the potential this rule change brings for expanded school-based oral health programs in high-need settings. Read the interview here. 

Did You Know?

Pet Oral Health Month

February is not just Children's Oral Health Month; it is also Pet Oral Health Month! Our fur babies can suffer from tooth decay and gum disease just as we can, and their oral health often goes neglected. Check out this video from the American Veterinary Medical Association about how to best care for your pets' teeth.

Fluoride Turns 75

This year marks the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation, one of the greatest public health successes of the 20th century. Despite its success in equitably improving oral health outcomes, misinformation continues to spread, creating concern in communities across the country.

As we celebrate this 75-year benchmark, read our blog post on some of the most pervasive myths about fluoride. 

Upcoming Events

Oral Health Day 2020

We are excited to announce NCOHC's Oral Health Day 2020! This year we are focused on updating our policy framework to welcome innovations in teledentistry, a promising tool to expand access and coverage in rural North Carolina. Register today and join us at the North Carolina General Assembly on June 3.

For more information and to register, visit our Oral Health Day 2020 webpage.

Clinical Conference on Quality & Chronic Disease

The North Carolina Community Health Center Association will host the 2020 Clinical Conference on Quality and Chronic Disease from April 8 - 10, 2020. This year's conference will feature a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services' Oral Health Section. Sessions will focus on oral health, behavioral health, emergency training for dental hygienists, and more. 

Also, join NCOHC during lunch on the 9th for our presentation of the Janet Reaves Community Achievement Award! Click here for tickets and more information.

Eastern Convening

We are looking forward to joining a dynamic group of oral health leaders for our Eastern Grass Tops Regional Convening in Greenville on March 26, 2020.

We'll discuss the oral health landscape, learn about challenges local entities are facing, and outline resources to address gaps and opportunities in eastern North Carolina. 

If you are interested in attending the convening, reach out to Kelsey Ross Dew today for more information. 

Get Involved

Do you want to learn more and get involved? 

Then please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and forward this newsletter to family, friends, and colleagues. If you haven't already, sign up to become an NCOHC member—it's free!

Finally, if you or your partner organizations are advancing oral health access and equity in innovative ways, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Brady Blackburn to collaborate and potentially showcase your work in an upcoming newsletter!
Copyright © 2020 NC Oral Health Collaborative, All rights reserved.

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