The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is pleased to announce that the Cincinnati Health Department School-based Health Centers have been selected to receive the 2020 Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr. Award for Champions of Oral Health. The centers were recognized for contributions made to the oral health and academic success of children in the Cincinnati area. Darlene Kamine, Executive Director, Community Learning Center Institute, and Board Member of the Children’s Oral Health Institute stated in her nomination that the centers have “changed the culture of oral health for the children” in the community, “especially for those children who would otherwise have no viable access to a dentist.”
The first school-based health center was established in 2013 at the Oyler Community Leaning Center in Lower Price Hill, an area of extreme poverty west of downtown Cincinnati. Prior to the establishment of the health center, the only dental services available to children in this area were at the Cincinnati Health Department dental clinic, which had a waiting list of nearly four months. Pain from tooth decay was cited by staff at the learning center as the number one issue impacting students’ ability to learn.
The opening of the Delta Dental Center at Oyler School was made possible through the support of the Children’s Oral Health Network and its member organizations, including Interact, the Delta Dental Foundation, and Growing Well. This was the first comprehensive, fully staffed, financially and self-sustaining dental center inside a school in the U.S. The health center began making a difference in children’s lives from the start. When first opened, 20-30 children per day who had never seen a dentist before were able to get dental care. In only two years, the number of children served grew to 3,266. By 2016, services expanded to include children ages 6 months-4 years.
The success of the first health center led to the development of four more centers offering dental services: Withrow (High School) Dental Center, Deaconess Health Check at Western Hills University High School/Dater High School, the Delta Dental Center at the Academy of World Languages and the Delta Dental Center at Aiken High School. Since the opening of the first health center, more than 30,000 children 0-19 years of age have been served by the health centers; at least 1,300 of the children have been younger than 4 years of age, enabling them to start kindergarten in good oral health. The health centers draw students from schools in their surrounding areas, and also provide services to members of the community after school hours.
The commitment of the health professionals in each center was noted by Francie Wolgin, Executive Director, Growing Well when she shared that the dental team in each site “engages the students and creates a culture of dental oral health promotion and treatment. Students previously bullied for having chipped or missing front teeth are able to regain their smiles. It is amazing to see the students embrace dental services and learn to improve their oral health through interactions with the dental team.” Dr. Holli Seabury, EdD, Executive Director, the Delta Dental Foundation added that they have “seen the incredible care and compassion the school-based dental teams have provided to students, staff and community members” and that the teams have “transformed lives and placed students on track for successful academic careers and lives after graduation.”
Team members were especially commended for their efforts to continue to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Dr. Kenneth Brandt, DDS, President, CDS Oral Health Foundation noted, “Each team put aside their own fears of contracting the coronavirus to continue to take care of the most vulnerable dental patients,” and in doing so, “they were instrumental in keeping these patients from going to the emergency room for their dental care.”
Team members honored with the award are:
Delta Dental Center at Oyler School: Dr. Anna Novais, Dr. Lauren Goldman, Alison Parker,
Kelsey Mcclanahan, Jennifer Monnig, Jessica Reverman, Trisha Waddell, EFDA.
Deaconess Health Check at Western Hills High School and Dater High School: Dr. Maria Boyd,
Akino Kishigawa, RDH, Annie Raines, EFDA, Kayla Graham, Toni Goerner, Debbie Sizemore,
Withrow Dental Center: Dr. Anna Novais, Tara Ayres, Emily Mercer, RDH, Austine Collins, EFDA,
Melissa Renzenbrink, Tiffani Allen, Jody Tirey.
Delta Dental Center in the Schiff Wellness Center at the Academy of World Languages: Dr. Alex Niehauser, Brooke Anderson, EFDA, Janine Smith, RDH, Joann Cox, Jody Gutknecht, Keshia Wilson,
Delta Dental Center at Aiken: Dr. Fatima Khan, Cheri Casey, RDH, Belinda Mink, Nicole Hail,
Ashley Collins, Brittnay Schwartz.
Cincinnati Health Department, Office of Community Oral Health Programs: Nancy Carter, RDH, MPH, Associate Dental Director.
Recipients of the award are presented with a plaque and their names are engraved on a plaque perpetually on display at ODH. Please see a description of the award and a list of past recipients.