Aloha from the Hawaiʻi Oral Health Coalition!  We are looking forward to closing the year on a positive note and heading into 2021 with an exciting agenda for the coalition.   Below are some updates and ways you can engage with the Hawaiʻi Oral Health Coalition (HOHC). 

  1. Join our Coalition! We need to hear your voice! What are your oral health concerns for our community?  Please click here to join us: https://www.hawaiioralhealthcoalition.org/Join-us
  2. Join a Committee! We have several active working committees and we are always seeking input in these areas:
  • Advocacy,
  • Prevention and Access
  • Surveillance and Data
  • Workforce
  • Leadership Council
  • Neighbor island task forces – Maui, Kauaʻi.

Statewide Coalition Planning Meeting. This October, the Hawaiʻi Oral Health Coalition hosted a successful Statewide Oral Health Coalition Planning Meeting via Zoom. At this meeting, updates were provided by each committee as well as the island representatives. Breakout rooms were created to meet one another and facilitate engagement, networking, and discussion.  Our new HOHC Logo designs were voted on and approved (our finalized logo above features native Hawaiian plants traditionally used for dental naturopathy).  HOHC also selected their legislative priority at the meeting: continuing to advocate for adult preventive dental benefits for Medicaid enrollees. HOHC recognizes the difficulty in passing such legislation with the budget shortfall the state is facing but will use the 2021 legislative session to educate new lawmakers on the importance of this issue. Other priorities the HOHC will support, but not lead, include: expanding the availability of teledentistry, a sugar-sweetened beverage fee, smoke-free multi-unit dwellings.  Please reach me at sonia@hiphi.org for more information on how to get involved. 

Mahalo, Treysen! Lastly, we’d like to thank Tresysen Ishimoto who interned with HIPHI this fall and provided a tremendous amount of support to the HOHC.  Treysen came to the coalition with a keen interest in oral health education and the role of dental therapists in Hawai’i. He worked with our coalition to design an infographic about dental therapists.  Treysen will be graduating from the University of Hawai’i Manoa next year with a major in public health.  He intends to apply to dental school and continue to be involved with public health.  In Treysen’s words, “What I got out of my internship at HIPHI Oral Health Coalition was the experience to see how important public health is to oral health. I had the opportunity to witness the behind the scenes work of individuals who are working tirelessly to improve Hawaii’s overall oral health. Throughout my time at HIPHI Oral Health Coalition I have learned different skills and knowledge that will help make me a more well-rounded dentist in the future.”