Membership Newsletter
January, 2015
New Access through Community Engagement

Organizations working together, networking, coordinating, and collaborating can accomplish goals they wouldn't dream of tackling single-handedly.  It starts with identifying a problem and envisioning a solution.  This happened recently at St. Vincent de Paul's Community Assistance Center in Exeter when facing the seemingly insurmountable issue of addressing the unmet dental needs of their client population who are amongst the neediest in the region.


The story began in 2013 when Cleo Castonguay, president of the Center attended an oral health event in Portsmouth, convened by the NHOHC through its DentaQuest Foundation building leadership grant.  Castonguay was motivated to attend to seek help with and to bring to light the dire nature of their client's dental problems.  The Center helps people who have no money, health insurance and often no permanent residence.  At the meeting Castonguay heard that a dental van previously used to visit schools was being decommissioned.  He approached participants and asked, "How do I get that van?" and that's when the generosity, philanthropy, support and perhaps a tad of magic began.  First, Core Physicians, an affiliate of Exeter Hospital, donated the dental van to St. Vincent de Paul's Community Assistance Center.  Then, the United Way and Exeter Hospital each donated $10,000 to Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth to help fund and staff the van.


It took about a year of coordinated efforts but the van opened on October 3rd and is operating on Fridays from 9:15 to 2:30 staffed by a dentist, a dental assistant, a nurse, and care coordinator.  Many of those seeking dental services have not had medical care in so long that the nurse is there to screen patients medically before the dental work is done.  They provide dental exams, X-rays, fillings and extractions at no cost to clients who are homeless or have Medicaid.  According to Terri Burdick, Operations Director at Families First, in the first two months 30 people with dental emergencies had been seen during 33 visits.  Patients are between the age of 18 and 80, with the majority being women over 50.  Soon, they hope to expand services to offer preventive services and to increase operating hours.


Interior view - Dentist Chair

St. Vincent's and Families First are providing desperately needed services.  The side effects of dental problems make it difficult to eat, talk chew and swallow; not to mention that missing and damaged teeth lower self-esteem and impair a person's ability to get a job and generally improve their living situation.  In addition, swelling, throbbing pain and fever from a broken or decayed tooth that is left untreated can lead to infection and sepsis that causes other health issues.  According to the CDC, recent studies link oral infection caused by gum disease with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature, low-weight births.  When the van opened, Castonguay recalls seeing "the pain and anguish on the faces of the clients waiting in the lobby for assistance, and then the relief and joy exhibited once they came out of the van."   

HNH and DentaQuest Foundations Provide  Funding to Complete a Baseline Inventory of Community Dental Programs 

The baseline assessment will be a resource for community providers, policy makers, legislators, consumer proxies, and others  in evaluating, establishing and strengthening current and future programs, benefits and training in community-based oral health programs and services.  In addition, this survey will help the aforementioned to better understand the range of oral health programs and service opportunities in the state;  to understand how programs function; to identify best practices among programs; to establish a baseline for measurement of the number of public health dental hygienists practicing in New Hampshire; and to identify gaps in provision of preventive dental care in underserved areas. 

Through statewide information gathering at both dental and medical settings providing oral health preventive services, the population ultimately served with this knowledge will be residents, statewide, who are or will be receiving preventive services in non-traditional settings.  Through surveying community dental programs and preventive services delivered in medical settings, the oral health network will be enhanced through the mutual sharing of program information. 

We will be gathering Oral Health Stakeholder input at the Baseline Survey Kick-Off on February 10th, 8:30 registration, 9 AM start at Northeast Delta Dental in Concord.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to

Staff Selected for National Representation
Gail T. Brown
NHOHC Director, Gail T. Brown has been selected for the DentaQuest Foundation National Oral Health Connection Team.  Appointees were selected for their skills and experience relating to oral health leadership and connectivity, as well as the potential for their Connection Team participation to support local stakeholders  and advance oral health at the local and national levels. 
HNH Foundation Creates Annual Sandi Van Scoyoc Legacy Award
Sandi Van Scoyoc

In honor of their founding president Sandi Van Scoyoc, the HNH Foundation Board of Directors has established an annual award to be presented to a NH organization or individual who exemplifies Van Scoyoc's commitment to improving the health of young children in the state.  Nominations are due by February 20, 2015 and the $2500 prize will be awarded at the HNH Foundation Annual Meeting in the spring.  [more

In This Issue
Under the Dome
The Commission to Study Pathways to Oral Health Care in NH (SB193) is preparing for its second meeting scheduled February 13 at 2 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building at 33 North State Street in Concord.  All Commission meetings are open to the public.  NHOHC was pleased to be asked to host an informational webpage for the Commission; that page can be found on our webpage at:  Click on the Pathways Study box in the upper right of the page.  The webpage will provide an overview of the Commission and its members plus agendas, minutes and documents from the meetings.
NH Senator Jeb Bradley

Senator Jeb Bradley, Commission Chair


A review of current Legislative Service Requests (LSRs) and submitted bills indicates only one directly related to dental and oral health.  HB 146, relative to the board of dental examiners, serves to update technical items within licensure application and the operations of the board.  As there are no components impacting our work and mission, we will follow this bill through monitoring only.  The bill was introduced by Representative Peter Schmidt at the request of the Board of Dental Examiners. 


Commission on Medicaid Care Management 

Next meeting

February 12, 2015
1:00pm - 4:00pm
ATECH Services
57 Regional Drive
Concord, NH 03301

On the Wire
California to Launch Medicaid-Funded Teledentistry
Daniela Hernandez
Kaiser Health News
September 29, 2014

State needs to take oral health seriously: Dental Medicaid program inadequate
Sarah A. Finne
Concord Monitor
January 3, 2015 


N.H. Hospital construction interrupts dental services
Casey McDermott
Concord Monitor
January 4, 2015


Letter: Ignoring oral health
Carole Ann Palmer-Zumbrunnen
Concord Monitor
January 17, 2015

Steering Committee
Helen Taft- Committee Chair

Jim Williamson- Vice Chair

Nancy Frank- Treasurer

Margaret Ray- Secretary

Suzanne Boulter
Heather Brown
Patrick Capozzi
Pam Delahanty

Martha McLeod
Lisa Morris
Stephanie Pagliuca
Patricia Tilley

Mary Vallier-Kaplan
Catrina Watson
Gail Brown-JD, MSW
Jane Goodman- MSPH
Project Coordinator
Regina Blaney-BS
Admin. & Data Coordinator