DentaQuest Foundation renews 18 Oral Health 2014 Initiative Grants

Boston—The DentaQuest Foundation has renewed all 18 of its Oral Health 2014 Initiative grants.

Since 2011, the foundation has provided grant funding and technical support to the state-based organizations who are working to make oral health a statewide health priority and improve access to care.

“The national focus on health has created a window of opportunity for impact at the state level to improve the oral health of all,” said Ralph Fuccillo, president.

“The Oral Health 2014 Initiative has developed a cadre of leaders across the U.S. who are addressing critical oral health needs in their communities and keeping oral health in statewide health conversations.

“They are the core of a network of oral health advocates and champions that is growing from coast to coast.”

The DentaQuest Foundation reports that grantees have already achieved some remarkable results. This fall, West Virginia initiated school-based oral health screenings and an oral health curriculum in all schools, from K-12.

In South Carolina, a research foundation is establishing programming to bring oral health prevention and education to families in rural areas. An early childhood oral health literacy campaign in Rhode Island is encouraging early dental visits for children, educating parents, dentists, pediatricians and social service agencies across the state.

In Virginia, there is curriculum change happening at every medical school across the state, focused on oral health across the health professions and lifespan.

In the District of Columbia, fluoride varnish was approved for reimbursement under the Medicaid plan.

In Colorado, a strong coalition of oral health supporters was prepared to support legislation for adult dental benefits under Medicaid.

In Arizona and North Dakota, Native American tribal leaders are talking about oral health as a serious health concern for their members.

Pediatricians across Pennsylvania are being trained to provide oral health prevention guidance and make oral health a part of routine well child visits.

“This is the third year of the Oral Health 2014 Initiative,” said Mr. Fuccillo. “Across all states, grantees are implementing plans and that will lead to a wealth of new projects that can be replicated and expanded across the U.S.”

Grant recipients include: University of Alabama; Arizona Dental Foundation; Children Now (California); Oral Health Colorado; Florida Public Health Institute Inc.; Idaho Department of Health and Welfare; Maryland Dental Action Coalition; Michigan Oral Health Coalition; Mississippi State Department of Health; North Dakota Department of Health; American Academy of Pediatrics, New Jersey Chapter; Oregon Oral Health Coalition; Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Rhode Island Kids Count Inc.; South Carolina Research Foundation; Virginia Oral Health Coalition; Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, D.C.); and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

More information about each Oral Health 2014 organization can be found at

Early childhood programs emphasize team effort


In an effort to combat the most common chronic disease affecting children, North Carolina policymakers launched a program in 2000 to help reduce caries rates of very young low-income children.

The Into the Mouths of Babes program allows dentists and pediatricians and family physicians in their communities collaborate to build an interdisciplinary approach to better oral and overall health for their patients.

To overcome barriers that might prevent parents/caregivers from bringing their young child for dental visits, the program encourages primary care providers to incorporate preventive oral health services for children enrolled in Medicaid during well-child visits. Pediatricians assess children for dental caries and risk status, apply topical fluoride, counsel parents on the hows and whys of good oral health and refer children to a dentist who can provide a dental home. The physicians receive reimbursement for up to six oral health visits in children between 6 months and 3-½ years of age.

Within the first six years, about 3,000 pediatricians in almost 600 practices were trained to participate in the program and results showed dramatic increases in oral health services for children in this age group.

Dr. Clements 

Dr. Rozier 

“Pediatricians and family medicine doctors in North Carolina have embraced this program with enthusiasm,” said Dennis Clements, M.D., chief, primary care pediatrics at Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “We are working together to keep children healthy. In some areas there are few pediatric dentists so a pediatrician providing fluoride varnish has been a huge help in trying to reduce dental caries in children under the age of 3. Dentists work collaboratively with pediatricians to educate them about healthy eating habits and caries identification. Their training helps us to triage and refer children that need to see a dentist.”

The IMB program continues to expand and involve new partners, said Dr. R. Gary Rozier, professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

“Evaluation studies conducted since the initiation of the program in 2000 have found it to substantially increase access to preventive dental services for young, high-risk children who otherwise would be unlikely to use these services in dental offices, reduce caries-related treatments and costs, avert hospitalizations and improve oral health status,” Dr. Rozier said. “Parents express a high level of satisfaction with receiving oral health services in primary medical care settings. And the number of preventive dental visits in medical settings in North Carolina reached more than 130,000 for children younger than 3-½ years of age statewide last year.”

Dr. Rozier says efforts to strengthen medical and dental collaboration to address disparities in oral health still continue in North Carolina. And both physicians and dentists have access to a wealth of resources that address incorporating oral health services into well-child visits, applying fluoride, referral guidelines and other tips.

“We recommend that dentists become familiar with risk assessment protocols developed for and being used by physicians so that they can appreciate the role that physicians play in oral health, what they expect dentists to do and how they expect dentists to relate to them,” Dr. Rozier said. “General dentists also can check with their state pediatric or pediatric dental societies, state dental public health program or Medicaid programs to see if formal education opportunities or ongoing medical-dental collaborations exist in their state. Many online educational resources are available to support infant and toddler oral health care, some of which provide continuing education credits.”

The problem of early childhood caries, and the philosophy behind using the IMB program to address it, is not unique to North Carolina.

The ADA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have been working together to help strengthen collaboration nationwide in a variety of ways, and pediatricians and dentists are collaborating nationwide to improve the oral health of underserved children.

The goals of the AAP’s Oral Health Initiative, launched in 2002, are to promote oral health care in primary pediatric settings by offering guidance to families about oral hygiene, diet, fluoride and the importance of the first dental visit at 1 year of age; to educate and advocate for primary pediatric care professionals to apply fluoride varnish; and to educate policymakers and payers about the importance of reimbursement for pediatric oral health care. The ADA is one of more than 30 partner organizations for the initiative.

With funding from the ADA Foundation, the AAP has trained pediatricians in most states to be Chapter Oral Health Advocates. These advocates provide at least four training sessions per year on incorporating oral health into the medical home, advocate for children’s oral health issues at the state and local level, serve as an access point for others in their community working to improve children’s oral health and build relationships with dental colleagues and societies in their community to improve access to oral health care.

Dr. Braun 

Dr. Crystal

“Caries is the most common problem I see in my young patients,” said Patricia Braun, M.D., a pediatrician in Denver and an Oral Health Chapter Advocate. “Physicians are slowly becoming aware of the burden of dental disease in their young pediatric populations and that the disease is largely preventable. Programs like the AAP COHA program are instrumental at raising awareness in the medical world of the importance of oral health to overall health.”

Dr. Braun said patients get high quality oral and overall health care when dentists and pediatricians can work collaboratively.

“The best model for me is when I can partner with a dentist to meet the dental needs of my patients,” said Dr. Braun. “I can teach the family of the importance of oral health and provide them with early preventive care but ultimately, my patients need a dentist who will see them at a young age and if they have Medicaid.”

“Good oral health is a gateway to overall health. And healthy children are the strength of our communities in the future,” said. Dr. Yasmi O. Crystal, clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry and member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations. “It is important that everyone understands that the same risk factors that result in dental caries are the ones that are causing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We can and should work as a team with other health care specialists and primary health care providers to make our population healthier. It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we are all on the same team.”

Dr. Crystal stresses that dental intervention at the earliest stages of a child’s life not only benefits the child and the family, but also reduces the need for extensive and expensive restorative and surgical treatments that require general anesthesia.

“Nobody I know enjoys treating these cases,” Dr. Crystal added. “Operating rooms across the country have long waiting lists of six months or longer. The benefit of getting more early referrals would help the dentist and the patient have a more pleasant experience and it emphasizes preventive strategies which help increase patient and family compliance and result in better health outcomes.”

There are a variety of opportunities for dentists to collaborate with pediatricians in their own communities, added Dr. Crystal, and collaborations tie in to the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign, launched last year.

The ADH campaign is designed to:

• provide care now to people who are suffering, including the uninsured who are more likely to visit an emergency room for relief from dental pain, the elderly in nursing homes, and children from low-income families;

• strengthen the dental safety net with more private practice dentists working with health centers and participating in Medicaid;

• emphasize prevention and education through community water fluoridation, Community Dental Health Coordinators and stronger collaboration between dentistry and medicine.

“ADA members have a call to action to take advantage of programs and resources that help dentists work collaboratively with pediatricians and help reach children in dire need,” said Dr. Crystal.

AAP’s section on oral health—a group of pediatric dentists, pediatricians and other allied health professionals—is interested in learning about and improving children’s oral health through collaborative efforts. The section focuses on educating pediatricians through multiple forums, advocacy for children’s oral health and improving relationships and communication between the dental and medical homes.

AAP offers affiliate membership opportunities for dental professionals and associate memberships for pediatric dentists who are members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

For more details, visit and search for Children’s Oral Health.

Visit the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign page for more information.

Alliance of the ADA focuses on outreach in New Orleans

New resources: Alliance of the ADA Dental Health Education co-chairs Sue Gardner, left, and Molly Bickford showcase materials from the new Healthy Smiles from the Start toolkit Nov. 4, 2013, at the program launch in New Orleans. AADA will distribute toolkits to prenatal class sites nationwide. Photos by EZ Event Photography 

Donation: AADA Head-to-Toe co-chairs Johanna Manasse, left, and Carol Reitz, right, present a check to Evelena Conerly and April Jenkins, representatives from New Orleans Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. The Alliance also donated 3,000 packages with socks, a hat, dental care products and more as part of its 2013 H2T project. 

New Orleans—Volunteers from the Alliance of the American Dental Association made their charitable outreach and dental health education efforts look easy in the Big Easy during the AADA annual convention Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2013.

To support the 2013 Head-to-Toe service project, Alliance members solicited and collected socks, hats, dental education information and oral care products for the New Orleans Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. METRO provides temporary housing, a crisis line, counseling and other essential services for victims of abuse.

AADA members donated more than 3,000 oral health kits plus 300 additional pairs of socks, 1,300 toothbrushes, 582 tubes of toothpaste, 500 packages of floss, 1,000 packages of denture cleansing tablets, 50 notebooks and $600 in cash.

“Head-To-Toe was a great success because the Alliance came together in New Orleans to promote dental health education by giving our time, our helping hands, our warm hearts and a desire to make a difference in another person’s life,” said H2T co-chair Carol Reitz, of Reading, Pa. “At the same time, members were having fun, meeting new friends and catching up with the old.”

The H2T project has been duplicated at the local and state levels throughout the United States, Mrs. Reitz added.

“In the future, our volunteers won’t remember how many packets we packed or collected, they may not remember where the kits were donated, but what they will remember is how they felt—having a purpose, being engaged, making a difference and having fun.”

“It is heartening to be among willing volunteers who share encouraging words while sorting through and packing over 3,000 care kits,” added co-chair Johanna Manasse, of Olympia Fields, Ill. “It brought tears to my eyes to hear the stories of those who stopped at the booth to support us emotionally, professionally and financially and the grateful recipients were speechless when they received the donations. That’s why I do H2T.”

Also in New Orleans, the Alliance, the ADA and Henry Schein Cares launched a new initiative to bring bilingual dental health education to expectant mothers, new mothers/caregivers and newborns.


The Healthy Smiles from the Start program was introduced at a press conference Nov. 4, 2013, at the Touro Infirmary in New Orleans.

“There is an urgent need for dental health education to be included in pre-and post-natal classes offered by hospitals and birthing centers,” said Molly Bickford and Sue Gardner, AADA Dental Health Education co-chairs. “By collaborating with these educational programs and providing the Healthy Smiles from the Start toolkit, we can help to prevent and decrease baby bottle tooth decay, as well increase awareness that it’s not only safe, but very important that women visit the dentist during pregnancy.”

AADA members nationwide will distribute Healthy Smiles from the Start materials to local hospitals and community health centers with established prenatal education classes.


The Alliance’s goal is to distribute toolkits to at least three prenatal class sites in each state within the next year, and to at least 10 class sites by 2016. Toolkits include a PowerPoint presentation with an instructor’s DVD for use in class, patient handouts and educational brochures in English and Spanish. All materials were created in collaboration with the program’s partners, including the ADA, Henry Schein Cares, the Foundation for Dental Health Education, the Alliance of the Georgia Dental Association and the Alliance of the Ohio Dental Association.

During the AADA convention, the Alliance House of Delegates adopted a new set of bylaws and will now be governed by a five-to-nine-member leadership council. The 2013-14 council elected are: Sue Ryser, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, president; Laurie Osborn, Knoxville, Tenn., president-elect; Patsy Dumas, Fort Wayne, Ind., immediate past president; Anne Morrison, Omaha, Neb., treasurer; and members Molly Bickford, Powder Springs, Ga.; Sharon Bryant, Dallas; Armella Glenn, Tulsa, Okla.; Sue Gardner, Chardon, Ohio; and Teresa Theurer, North Logan, Utah.

For more information about the H2T service project, Healthy Smiles from the Start or Alliance membership and governance, visit

Dr. Jane Selbe dies March 8

Dr. Selbe: “It was pretty lonely as the only woman in a class of 135,” she recalled in 2008, but was proud of the strides women had made in the profession since the 1950s.

Santa Fe, N.M.—Dr. Jane Selbe, a trailblazer for women dentists as a clinician, mentor and leader, died at her home in Santa Fe on March 8. She was 87.

Born in Rocky Ford, Colo., the daughter of a dentist, Dr. Selbe was the only woman to graduate with the Northwestern University Dental School class of 1951.

“It was pretty lonely as the only woman in a class of 135,” Dr. Selbe wrote in an American Association of Women Dentists newsletter column in January 2008, “but now, the dental school classes are about 50 percent women, so fortunately, these students will not experience the discrimination we ‘older’ members felt.”

Dr. Selbe was a pediatric dentist in the Chicago area for nearly a half century before retiring to Santa Fe in 1997. She is remembered by her colleagues as a mentor and an advocate for equality in the profession.

“Dr. Selbe was a remarkable woman who encouraged so many women dentists to become not only good dentists but leaders in dentistry,” said Dr. Kathryn Kell, treasurer for the FDI World Dental Federation, an ADA past 10th District trustee (2004-08) and a general dentist in Davenport, Iowa. “She was a kind, gentle lady but would speak up to defend what she thought was right. She believed in supporting her associations, including the American Association of Women Dentists, the American College of Dentists and ADA. She encouraged all of us in AAWD to attend the meetings and social events of these organizations for networking and learning more about the profession.”

Dr. Kell said that Dr. Selbe was one of the first, if not the first, women to join the Union League Club of Chicago and even arranged to have an American Association of Women Dentists meeting there.

Dr. Selbe served in a variety of leadership roles for the Chicago Dental Society; she was the first woman trustee for the Illinois State Dental Society from 1982-85, as well as state chair for National Children’s Dental Health Month, president of the Illinois Society of Dentistry for Children and the Northwestern Dental Alumni Association. She was an ADA member and alternate delegate to its House of Delegates and a member of the American College of Dentists. She was president of the American Association of Women Dentists in 1986 and recipient of the AAWD’s Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award, the association’s highest honor for members who have made outstanding individual achievements in civic, cultural, academic and professional areas and are role models for women dentists who demonstrate commitment to the profession.

“Dr. Selbe was a wonderful role model for the dental profession,” said Dr. Mary Hayes, a pediatric dentist in Chicago. “She was very active in organized dentistry and expected all her younger colleagues to participate and speak up. In particular, it was extremely important to her that women dentists take their rightful place in the profession. When she started, there were so few women: even the bylaws of dental organizations were written in the male gender. In her home state of Illinois, she made sure the men knew the ladies were coming.”

Dr. Hayes said she was touched to hear from her mentor a few months ago as Dr. Selbe was preparing to enter hospice care after a long battle with cancer.

“I received a note from her a few months before she died, saying farewell and advising me to continue traveling as it expands the mind and it’s fun,” said Dr. Hayes. “In the midst of preparing for hospice, it is a tribute to her devotion to her friends and colleagues that she sent many of us such notes. Jane was my mentor until the end. As a young dentist she brought me to my first American College dinner, promoted me at the state and local level of dental organizations and taught me to always listen and pay attention to what was going on in our profession.”

“Jane was truly the initial force in guiding and supporting my involvement in organized dentistry,” said Dr. Trucia Drummond, a general dentist in Chicago. “She was adamant that we, her mentees, become the leaders she foresaw. Her influence was quite subtle. She didn’t force the issue, but once there was a glimmer that we were striving forth she was the cheerleader.

“When I became the first woman president of ISDS,” added Dr. Drummond, “Jane felt fulfilled that the women dentists of Illinois had finally broken the barrier. Jane also nominated me for the American College of Dentists and for the Lucy Hobbs Taylor award. She made similar nominations for other women as well. She was extremely loyal to the American Association of Women Dentists. She and Herb (her husband, Dr. Herbert Hammer) would invariably show up no matter where we met. She was always smiling and one was always happy to be in her presence. We missed her not being at our meeting in La Costa, Calif., last summer and will miss her from now on.”

Dr. Mary Licking, a general dentist in Nashua, N.H., sent a report to ADA News that Dr. Selbe wrote for the AAWD’s Chronicle in 1976 describing her trip to the White House for the presentation of the final report of the International Women’s Year Presidential Commission when she was AAWD president.

“The White House soiree was exciting–and hectic,” Dr. Selbe wrote. “I arrived at the East Gate of the White House 30 minutes ahead of schedule to find a ‘mob’ of women already gathered—they had the same idea I had—to beat the crowd. … When we finally were cleared for entrance, we were directed to the Rose Garden where the Marine Band was playing pleasant summertime selections and over 500 people milled about waiting for President [Gerald R.] Ford. The final report by the presidential commission for International Women’s Year was—is—a book and each attendant was given one. President Ford, Jill Ruckelshaus, outgoing president of the commission, and the incoming president of the commission (whose name I never did get) gave short messages and then punch and cookies were served under two big gay red and white striped tents. I spoke with President Ford and Sen. Chuck Percy (Illinois Senator who has done much for the Equal Rights Amendment). President Ford is not only a very warm friendly person but is certainly a strong advocate of women and women’s rights.”

In an obituary that appeared in the Chicago Tribune last month, her daughter Susan said that her mother was adept at balancing her family’s needs with the demands of her profession.

“When I was in college and what was called the women’s liberation movement started to become a force in our lives, I didn’t realize until then that this was what my mother had been doing her whole life,” said Susan Selbe. “She was a woman able to manage a career and a family.”

Dr. Selbe is survived by her husband Dr. Herb Hammer, her children Susan, Scott and Cindy Selbe, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Services were held.

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