OHA Advocates for Oral Health Equity on Capitol Hill
CHICAGO, October 17, 2018 — Earlier this month, Oral Heath America (OHA) brought Board Members, Oral Health Advocates and staff to Capitol Hill for its annual Advocacy Week event to meet with members of Congress and recognize leaders who have worked toward oral health equity in the public sphere.
Advocacy Week is a part of OHA’s annual Fall for Smiles campaign, which strives to educate Americans every September and October about the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth and is a component of OHA’s year-long Campaign for Oral Health Equity. This year’s theme, Open Your Mouth: Oral Health is Health!, seeks to empower health advocates to raise awareness of the importance of oral health as a key factor of overall health and wellness.
Thanks to the generosity of 3M, GSK, Dental Trade Alliance and Midmark, OHA offered scholarships to 20 Oral Health Advocates. Forty-five participants asked legislators and their staff to support OHA’s national oral health agenda by providing educational information and sharing personal stories and experiences. In total, Oral Health Advocates reached 84 congressional offices.
At the Capitol Hill Reception, sponsored by Oral Healthcare Can’t Wait, an initiative of Dental Trade Alliance and the DentaQuest Foundation, OHA honored Caswell A. Evans Jr., DDS, MPH, associate dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the University of Illinois (UIC), Chicago College of Dentistry and faculty member in the UIC School of Public Health, with the 2018 Marvin Goldstein Outstanding Public Service Award. Evans has a distinguished record in the field of public health including his directorship of the first Surgeon General’s report on oral health and leadership in establishing service learning externships at UIC.
OHA also recognized Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) as the Legislative Honoree for his accomplished work in dentistry and most recent role in leading the House passage of the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 to bolster utilization of existing resources to improve early diagnosis, intervention and prevention treatments.