Healthy Smiles Oral Health Task Force
A state wide Head Start Oral Health Task Force was formed in 2011 to continue working to address the significant issues, practical strategies and specific recommendations gleaned from the Healthy Smiles, Happy Children: A Dentist for Every Child Head Start Oral Health Forums
The PA Head Start Oral Health Task Force is working to:
- Absorb and follow up on the many creative strategies and recommendations identified at the Forums,
- Engage in ongoing networking and professional mentoring of dental providers to serve Head Start,
- Develop an ongoing state-level plan and process to sustain concrete improvements for Head Start and Early Head Start, and,
- Ultimately move oral health policy forward to improve oral health and well being outcomes for at-risk families.
The first meeting of the Task Force was January 14, 2011. At this meeting the Task Force created the following sub-committees:
- Dental Home Initiative (mentoring to build a network of dental providers to serve Head Start/Early Head Start),
- Higher Education (addressing work force issues, professional development, and community outreach efforts),
- Education of Parents, Families, and Staff (applying “best practices” in adult learning and oral health promotion), and
- Dental Provider Strategies (for collaborating successfully with Head Start/EHS programs and families in local communities).
The second meeting of the task force was held May 5, 2011. It was a celebration of the Pennsylvania Head Start Dental Home Initiative (DHI) being created based on the the Health Smiles Initiatives successful oral health forums. At this meeting the Task Force celebrated the Dental Home Initiative and the task force committees developed goals and strategies to focus our work and to be the basis for the application for state DHI support funds.