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Health Equity Forum: CPEHN's Regional Convenings Kick Off in Fresno – March 2018

California Oral Health Network: CPEHN’s Regional Convenings Kick Off in Fresno!

February 15th marked the official launch of the California Oral Health Network (COHN) and the first of five regional oral health convenings CPEHN has planned during the months of February and March. Jointly hosted by the Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI), the Fresno convening drew more than 30 attendees with diverse expertise, actively working to serve the varied oral health needs of Central Valley communities. Stakeholders from state and county departments met with local oral health advocates to discuss barriers, share best practices and highlight opportunities for collective action to improve the oral health of California’s diverse communities. The participants also provided input into the structure of the newly-formed California Oral Health Network, recognizing the important role of the network in helping to elevate local successes, including those in the Central Valley.

Some highlights of the day:

  • At the local level, stakeholders shared strategies and celebrated the successes of the Central Valley’s Local Dental Pilot Program (LDPP), which added 136 providers and enrolled 6,295 children in the Denti-Cal program since August, 2017. Speakers included:
    • Dr. Marlene Bengiamin and Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute
    • Rhoda Howell Gonzalez, RDH, RDHAP, Delivering Smiles
    • James Richardson, Reading and Beyond
    • Bertha Richardson, Fresno EOC Health and Dental Services
    • David Luchini, Fresno County Department of Public Health
  • At the state level, participants learned about California’s restoration of adult dental benefits for Medi-Cal enrollees effective January 1, 2018, and efforts to educate multilingual communities about the availability of these benefits. Participants also learned about California’s 10-year oral health plan which serves as a blue-print for strategies to end oral health disparities in California. With this new plan and the appointment of the state’s first State Dental Director in 10 years, Dr. Jayanth Kumar, California is now prepared to tackle the enormous oral health challenge that lies ahead. Speakers included:
    • Jennifer Byrne, California Department of Public Healt Oral Health Program
    • Gayle Mathe, California Dental Association.

CPEHN is excited to continue these conversations across the state. The remaining convenings will be held in Los Angeles (March 12th), and Sacramento (March 20nd). Click here to learn more and register.  

A special thank you to our funders, DentaQuest and the California Wellness Foundations for making this event possible.