2011 Oral Health Heroes
This years awards, given to people and programs that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and a strong commitment to improving the state of oral health in Maine through oral health advocacy, organizing, and service are:
Representative Meredith Strang Burgess
Robert R. Berube DDS
David R. Kerr DDS
Jonathan Shenkin DDS,MPH
Dental Wellness Center of Biddeford.
What this year's awardees have in common is a willingness to stretch to find new solutions in difficult times. Each of the three dentists have made significant contributions to improving policy and systems change that go way beyond their private practices. The Dental Wellness Center is the result of new and lasting collaborative efforts of three separate organizations, and our legislator exemplifies a spirit of bi-partisanship in the cause of good public health solutions for Maine.
Both Dr. Berube, an oral surgeon in Augusta and Dr. Kerr, a dentist in Portland, have spent the last year serving on a committee formed in response to a legislative directive, A Resolve, to Study Expenditures for Oral Health in the MaineCare Program. Dr. Berube played a leading role with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to create a rooms to timely, appropriate and definitive care for acute pain system that diverts patients away from costly emergency and infection. The pilot program Dr Berube developed with Pen Bay Hospital has been presented to eleven other hospitals for implementation. Dr. David Kerr has donated countless hours to reviewing/analyzing aggregate MaineCare dental data to help DHHS characterize how MaineCare money is being spent in hospital emergency rooms. This work has been invaluable in informing the recommendations of the forthcoming report, which will be submitted to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services.
Dr Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, has been a long time supporter of public health policy solutions to prevent disease. In the last legislative session he initiated, lobbied and worked for passage of landmark protection for children when he proposed legislation that causes all dental benefit providers who do business in Maine to insure children from the age of one year old. This successful legislation corrected a practice that previously allowed benefits for children to not begin until age four. Dr Shenkin has been an unfailing champion of early prevention of dental disease.
The Dental Wellness Center in Biddeford is a model of collaborative action; it exists due to the efforts of the Biddeford Free Clinic, Community Dental, and the York County Dental Society. These groups came together to provide free oral health prevention and treatment services to individuals who have no source of payment and do not qualify for Community Dental's Sliding Fee Scale. The services are scheduled by the Biddeford Free Clinic using Community Dental's scheduling system, the services are delivered in Community Dental's state of the art Biddeford Center, and the services are provided by volunteer dentists and other dental staff.
Representative Strang Burgess, the daughter of a dentist, is serving her third term as a legislator in House District #108 and is presently the co-chair of the health and Human services Committee. In and out of the legislature she has been a staunch advocate for many health issues, including support for a Maine dental school, increasing MaineCare services by including adults and enabling providers to see more beneficiaries by increasing payment rates.
Come to the Legislative Breakfast and Oral Health Hero Awards, and bring your legislator!
February 17, 2011 in the Cross Cafeteria of the State Office Building, Augusta, 8:30 AM -10:30 AM. For a printable announcement click here. and for oral health talking points when you communicate with your legislators go here. To find out who your legislators are and how to connect, go here.
May 6, 2011 Oral Health for Young Children: Everybody's BusinessMark your calendars for this important conference at Point Lookout in Northport,and contact us if you want a brochure and registration materials sent to you as soon as they are available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids Oral Health Partnership If you are a medical provider, or a childcare/family services provider, and would like free training on oral health assessment, parental guidance and disease prevention, contact Bonnie Vaughan RDH at 622-7566 x 216 or email@example.com