A key oral health issue in Alachua County, and for the state of Florida, is the lack of information on oral health status and unmet needs of its residents. Continued funding will support the Alachua Oral Health Coalition (AOHC) to impact the systems of policy, funding, care, and community at a county level. As a result of the Coalition’s leadership: the Alachua County School Board, for the first time, included oral health in the annual health screenings of school children; the first county-wide surveillance system was implemented; and the state of Florida is in the process of replicating AOHC’s assessment methodology to implement a statewide assessment system. These efforts will facilitate the ability of stakeholders to craft policy solutions that effectively address access issues, help to measure progress and changes in oral health status, and advocate for the appropriate allocation of resources to increase access to care. AOHC has mobilized leadership in five surrounding counties to establish formal coalitions to address the particular issues of these rural counties. Within a short period of time, the AOHC has achieved interim outcomes that will have positive results in reducing oral health disparities for the underserved not only in Alachua County, but for the state of Florida.
Saturday, January 1, 2011