Project Title: Idaho’s Project to Create an Age-friendly, Equitable, and Competent Oral Health Workforce Application Organization: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Oral Health Program Address: 450 W. State Street, Boise, ID 83720-0036 Project Director Name: Nicole Rogers, Risk Reduction and Prevention Section Manager Contact Phone Number: (208)949-1617-Voice, (208)334-6573-Fax Email: Nicole.Rogers@dhw.idaho.gov Website: www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/oralhealth Grant Program Funds Requested: $400,000 per/year for 4 years The health and economic burden of oral health diseases continue to demonstrate the importance of oral health and the connection of a healthy mouth to a healthy body. Daily oral hygiene, the ability to access routine professional oral healthcare services, and oral health education are all key factors that can improve the oral health of older Americans. Over the next four years, the Idaho Oral Health Program (IOHP) within the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare will address oral health access and workforce issues in Idaho, and specifically in counties identified as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (Dental HPSAs) to support an age-friendly, equitable, and accessible health system. Ninety-four percent of Idaho is considered a Dental HPSA (six counties designated geographic and 35 population-based), with 16 being considered rural and an additional 16 as frontier. Because Idaho is a large and mostly rural state, geography and distance impact the demographic characteristics, social determinants of health, and health outcomes. The residents of Idaho's rural communities tend to be older, experience higher rates of poverty and lower per capita income, and have higher uninsured rates than their urban counterparts. 90% of adult Medicaid members have access to dental care within 60 minutes and may have to wait over a week on average to be seen and nearly three weeks to be seen for preventive services. Wit
h an estimated 20% of Idaho's population enrolled in Medicaid through preventive dental benefits for adults and expanded coverage for children, the access to a provider continues to present significant barriers in seeking oral healthcare. The IOHP will improve the oral health of underserved individuals living in Dental HPSAs through this funding opportunity to expand the oral health workforce and increase access to oral healthcare services by focusing on four specific goals: 1. Develop and increase additional infrastructure support, including a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and Sustainability and Evaluation Committee (SEC), within the IOHP to carry out the project goals, objectives, and key tasks. 2. Identify locations in Idaho where underserved populations are experiencing difficulties within an age-friendly health system and oral health services by conducting Idaho's first Adult Basic Screening Survey and convening the 2025 Idaho Oral Health Access Summit in collaboration with other oral health partners. 3. Increase the number of underserved individuals in Dental HPSAs receiving oral healthcare services by conducting feasibilities studies in two to three regions, in addition to providing clinical support for the use of teledentistry. 4. Increase the number of dental education courses provided, including distance-based education models, for the traditional and non-traditional oral health workforce. The programs developed by the IOHP will specifically target adults and disparate populations living in Dental HPSAs. The result of these programs, in partnership and collaboration with current and new oral health partners, will ultimately expand oral healthcare delivery in Dental HPSAs, support a skilled, culturally competent, and highly collaborative oral health workforce, and create an age-friendly health system that is sensitive and inclusive.