CDC Awards $3 Million for State Oral Health and Chronic Disease Programs

September 21, 2016
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

A new $3 million grant program aims to support programs that link oral health and the prevention of chronic diseases.

The

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month

awarded $3 million in aid to six state health departments as part of an effort to strengthen collaborative efforts between oral health initiatives and programs focused on several chronic diseases.

The six states that will benefit from this award include Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, and New York. Each state will receive $500,000 over a period of two years. The funds will be distributed in order to help each state’s oral health departments to develop and implement programs aimed at improving the oral health of state residents. The funds will also be used by state health departments to develop plans to help prevent and control several prevalent chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Each state oral health department chosen to receive a portion of the award has already allocated the funds for the following projects.

In Alaska, the money will help train dental professionals and other providers to better educate and counsel pediatric patients and their caregivers in an effort to reduce the consumption of beverages containing high amounts of sugar. Instead, the program is focused on emphasizing the importance and increasing the consumption of water.

A plan is being developed in Colorado that will increase collaboration with oral health and primary healthcare providers. This plan will ensure a more comprehensive, patient-centered treatment approach to diabetes prevention and management in community health settings.

• Georgia is developing a

toolkit for dental professionals to encourage providers to refer patients to the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line. Young women who are at high risk for tobacco use during pregnancy are specifically targeted with this initiative.

Maryland dental health professionals will be encouraged to provide blood pressure screenings during routine dental visits. They will also be encouraged to provide counseling to patients with previously undiagnosed hypertension, and will be given the tools to refer these patients to medical professionals for further evaluation and treatment.

In Minnesota, a program will be tested to increase patient access to dental and medical screenings for periodontal disease and hypertension. Increased screening will be achieved by increased referrals by both dental and medical professionals. Primary care providers will also have access to tools and information necessary to screen patients for periodontal disease.

New York state is planning to create and implement a healthy beverage media campaign. The campaign will target both African-American and Hispanic teenage boys in the western part of the state.