The Hawai‘i Oral Health Coalition (HOHC) has been busy and these latest updates are certainly something to smile about!

We recently hosted the long-awaited webinar, “Integrating Oral Health and Medicine: Moving From “Why” to ”How” in Hawai‘i and Beyond”, on September 9th.  The webinar featured guest speaker, Dr. Lisa Simon, Fellow in Oral Health and Medicine Integration at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and provided a specialized glimpse into the past, present, and future of medical-dental integration, highlighting the systemic shifts that can carry us to a new level of patient care.  As the term “medical-dental integration” really means comprehensive care, “co-location” is actually access, and “oral-systemic health link” is simply just health, the change we need begins with how we talk about it.  In case you missed it, you can find the recorded webinar on the Hawai‘i Public Health Training Hui’s YouTube Channel.

While we had hoped and planned for at least a hybrid annual meeting in October, we’re going fully virtual due to the current COVID-19 surge.  Despite the need to shift gears (again), we can’t wait to assemble our statewide oral health coalition this fall. We’ll convene for two virtual sessions on October 26th and November 9th, from 9 – 11:30am, covering the Coalition’s latest accomplishments and setting our sights on the upcoming legislative session with established policy priorities.  For more information, contact Patrick at patrick@hiphi.org.

It’s never too soon to start planning for the next Legislative session. As such, the HOHC has been hard at work to reaffirm support for the reinstatement of the adult dental Medicaid benefit.  As preventive care was canceled for adults in 2009, we can’t afford another year covering only emergency dental services for adults on Medicaid.  While COVID-19 caught us off guard, now is the time for our communities to raise their voices, rally for health equity, and reinstate access to oral health care.

Stay tuned for more on the HOHC’s important work! For information about the HOHC or to get involved, contact Patrick at patrick@hiphi.org. We look forward to hearing from you!