February 11, 2015 (West Palm Beach, FL) – Florida faces systemic barriers to dental care access and utilization for the 1.28 million children who are covered by Medicaid. In fact, Florida is ranked 50th in the nation for the number of Medicaid-covered children who saw a dentist in 2011.
To address this problem, the Florida Institute for Health Innovation (FIHI) is bringing together a cadre of partners with an interest in improving the oral health of Florida’s most vulnerable children to form the Florida Oral Health Alliance. Comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders from multiple sectors, the Florida Oral Health Alliance will work together to advance public-private partnerships to improve dental care for Medicaid-eligible children in the state of Florida.
With seed funding from the DentaQuest Foundation, and using a data-driven, results-based leadership model for change, the Institute will facilitate, plan and implement strategies for the Alliance, based on the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders including dental and health care providers, legal services, child advocates, human services, philanthropy, the safety net and the members of the communities they serve.
“The Institute’s model of collaborative leadership has been used throughout the country to successfully create large-scale systems change,” said Roderick King, MD, MPH, CEO of the Florida Institute for Health Innovation. “We’ve demonstrated that healthy communities are created when leaders take aligned actions for results and measurable change.” Additionally, this model has been used to address infant mortality in Baltimore, Maryland, poverty eradication in Savannah, Georgia, early childhood school readiness in Baltimore, MD and Connecticut, as well as to improve the health and well-being of children and families in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
To ensure that community-level barriers are understood and addressed, the Institute will develop a statewide community advisory council made up of individuals and groups that experience challenges to accessing and utilizing dental care. The advisory council will inform the strategy recommendations for improved oral health education and dental care delivery.