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    Meet the Dental Products Report Top 25 Women in Dentistry for 2017

    Now in its eighth year of recognizing exceptional women in the dental industry, Dental Products Report is thrilled to introduce the Top 25 Women in Dentistry for 2017.

     

    Dr. Jana S. Winfree

    Dr. Jana S. WinfreeCategory: Dentist

    Working within the government means you have to see the big picture, and as the Oklahoma State Dental Director, Dr. Jana Winfree does just that. Her duties include dental public health efforts for the state like community water fluoridation, oral health surveillance, dental education, acting as subject matter expert and administering the state dental loan repayment program. As if those responsibilities aren’t enough, she also practices dentistry on a limited scale for uninsured children and pregnant women in a county health department. 

    “Innovation involves turning an idea into an action to meet a need,” Dr. Winfree says. “Although utilizing dental hygienists for oral health surveillance and using public health nurses to deliver fluoride varnish are not new ideas, these actions had not been done before by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. It was under my leadership as state dental director that these needed efforts were accomplished.”

    Dr. Winfree recently obtained a master’s degree in public health. Thanks to her education, she is able to view disease through the ecological. She learned to recognize social determinants of health and she became increasingly aware of the relationship between oral health and overall health. 

    In the last two years alone, Dr. Winfree has accomplished great strides within her position. In October 2015, she oversaw the implementation of the Oklahoma Fluoride Varnish program for public health nurses. The focus is children under age 5 who are enrolled in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutritional program. The program, which began in a few county health departments, has expanded to 39 clinics. In the almost two years since inception, almost 6,000 children have received fluoride varnish applications from public health nurses and the program continues to grow.

    “Nurses have embraced the service, commenting that applying fluoride varnish opened a whole new conversation with mothers that they never had before,” she says. “I’m proud of this accomplishment because it is a successful medical-dental collaboration that benefits our youngest children.”

    Then in 2016, she oversaw the Oklahoma oral health needs assessment. During this assessment, seven dental hygienists screened almost 1,300 third- graders at 36 different elementary schools. With a 60-percent participation rate, they had the most contributors in the history of the survey. 

    “I’m proud of this accomplishment because the state health department had not used hygienists before as screeners, and they proved to be excellent as examiners and as dental health educators,” Dr. Winfree says.

    The fact that dental diseases are mostly preventable motivates her to initiate programs that will decrease tooth decay and periodontal disease for Oklahomans. This aligns with the mission of the Oklahoma State Department of Health: creating a state of health.

    “I hope to see oral health recognized as essential to overall health and a key component for quality of life,” she says. “Oral health is related to mental, physical, systemic, social and economic health.”

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