As we begin to transition from the COVID-19 chaos into a new normal, we’re ready to lead the charge in oral health equity in Hawaiʻi. With a new Statewide Oral Health Coalition Manager and a growing Coalition, we are tackling some of the toughest oral health issues facing Hawaii’s residents.
Despite the insurmountable shortcomings of the last legislative budget, HIPHI and the HOHC continued to educate lawmakers on oral health issues and the importance of reinstating preventive oral health coverage for adults enrolled in Medicaid. While the Advocacy Committee is hard at work ensuring legislative support, the Workforce Committee shifted their sights and are set on improving oral health access through an expanded workforce for greater reach in the state’s most underserved populations, and medical-dental integration for streamlined services including referrals and administering COVID-19 vaccines.
With the help of outstanding partners across the state, including those within the Department of Health, the University of Hawaiʻi, Community Health Centers, and so many others, we can pursue these priorities and work to address oral health equity.
Although it is difficult to predict what lies ahead as the prospect of a post-pandemic landscape looms, the foundation is well set as the dedication and passion of the HOHC flourishes. While COVID-19 may have distanced us physically, crossing the threshold into the virtual sphere has provided a platform in which partnerships for community collaboration can thrive. It is the movement and strength within these partnerships that will continue to advance equitable oral health outcomes in Hawaiʻi for all.