Pa. Office of Rural Health, DentaQuest Institute launch oral health initiative

The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH), in partnership with the DentaQuest Institute, has initiated a project that will increase access to oral health care in rural areas of the state through the integration of oral health and primary care services at Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in Pennsylvania.

The Medical Oral Expanded Care (MORE Care) Collaborative addresses the oral health disparities that exist in rural areas. Through training primary care providers on oral health competencies and developing a strong referral network of local dental providers, MORE Care fosters a collaborative environment to address at-risk populations identified by the program’s rural health partners. The initiative began in South Carolina, and Pennsylvania and Colorado are participating in the phase two pilot of the project administered through state offices of rural health.

“The MORE Care Collaborative demonstrates the opportunities of true partnership across health care lines to reach those facing barriers in accessing oral care,” said Sean Boynes, doctor of dental medicine and director of interprofessional practice at the DentaQuest Institute. “We are excited to work with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to empower local providers through training and networking building, all with the goal of bringing oral health services to rural residents and improving the oral health of all.”

As the nonprofit, educational arm of DentaQuest, the DentaQuest Institute is dedicated to promoting optimal oral health through efficient, effective and high-quality care. Through its work to align clinical practice with evidence-based research, the DentaQuest Institute is helping oral health professionals find new ways to partner with patients to prevent and manage oral diseases.

PORH formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Penn State. It is one of 50 state offices of rural health and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance and networking; partnership development; and assistance in the recruitment and retention of health care providers. PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, agricultural health and safety, and community and economic development. PORH is administratively housed in the Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park.

“Integrating oral health into rural primary care practices will allow access to oral health interventions to those without an existing dental home. This program will improve not only the oral health, but the overall health of rural Pennsylvanians,” said Kelly Braun, dental systems delivery coordinator at PORH.

“This is an important project that will bring much-needed oral health care services to rural areas of the state,” added Lisa Davis, director of PORH and outreach associate professor of HPA at Penn State. “We are thrilled to be selected as one of the states that will implement the phase two pilot of this project and look forward to working with the DentaQuest Institute on achieving our mutual goals of increasing the overall health of rural residents.”

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, visit http://porh.psu.edu.

More information on the DentaQuest Institute can be found at http://dentaquestinstitute.org.

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Last Updated June 17, 2016