Michigan Receives $1.3 Million for Oral Health Programs

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2013

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Oral Health Program has received a three-year $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant will be used to expand and enrich the oral health workforce through programs in Mecosta and Genesee counties.          

“The Michigan Department of Community Health is committed to building a stronger workforce with the ability to provide oral health services within a community-based system of care,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “This grant will help two of Michigan’s rural counties expand services and improve system operations.”

Oral health workforce expansion and enrichment are significant issues in Mecosta County and Genesee County. Only 12 dentists in Mecosta County participate in Medicaid, while Genesee County experienced a 50 percent increase in community need from 2010 to 2011. 

Funds will be used to fight tooth decay in Mecosta County through the expansion of SEAL! Michigan, a school-based dental sealant program. In Genessee County, funding will support efforts to measure the operational effectiveness of an interprofessional team training program for health professionals and students. To implement these initiatives, MDCH will partner with Ferris State University, University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry and Medical School, Michigan Health Council, and School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan.

The SEAL! Michigan program’s objectives are to establish practice settings in elementary and middle schools for dental hygiene students to screen, assess, and educate youth on the importance of oral health, while also providing dental sealants. On the operations side, the University of Michigan interprofessional goal is to develop a multi-professional health care team model. This program will also measure team member perceptions, patient quality of life/care, and clinical/financial efficiency.

For more information about oral health in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/oralhealth.

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