Excellent Oral Health for ALL Virginians

Medical and Dental Collaboration Initiative

Initiative Summary

Dear ,
Over the past two years, thanks to your involvement and support, we have strengthened connections between the medical and dental providers in Virginia and are building a vibrant network of collaboration.  In the process, we have broadened awareness and support for the basic concept that "oral health is health." 
With funding from the DentaQuest Foundation, members of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition's Medical and Dental Collaboration Initiative have increased access to oral health services in Virginia by expanding the amount of oral health education offered in schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and physician assistant training, and incorporating oral health prevention into primary care practices throughout the Commonwealth.

When we launched the Medical and Dental Collaboration Initiative, together we set forth bold goals.  We are pleased to report that we have realized significant process in achieving this ambitious agenda for change.  For example:
  • Professional Development:  The Coalition partnered with provider associations throughout the Commonwealth to educate well over 700 existing health professionals about the relationship between oral and overall health, how to work collaboratively to manage patient health, and how to incorporate oral health into practice through online (Smiles for Life) and in-person continuing education trainings.  Two medical-dental teams also received scholarships to participate in evolve, a cutting-edge clinical leadership program sponsored by the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation.
  • Curriculum Integration:  Eight clinical education programs have implemented oral health education into student and resident curricula at health professional schools throughout the Commonwealth, exposing many future health care providers to oral health education for the first time.  As a result more than 800 future healthcare professionals have the knowledge and skills to help ensure that oral health is part of a patient's overall health and are more prepared to work collaboratively to deliver comprehensive care.  This curriculum change will far outlive the Coalition's Medical and Dental Collaboration Initiative, and faculty have become internal champions of oral health education.
  • Oral Health Prevention in Medical Primary Care: Over 150 pediatricians, family physicians and members of their health care teams received training about the oral health needs of children and how, as health care providers, they can improve the number of children they see who receive preventive dental services in a dental home.  This number is especially impactful when you consider that just one pediatrician may see 70 children a week!  Since coming together to align efforts in 2012, the number of non-dental providers incorporating oral health prevention activities such as oral health assessment, fluoride varnish and referrals to dentists into their practice has increased by 50%.  We expect to see this number continue to increase and are anxiously awaiting the data from the 2014 state fiscal year.  We're pleased to see many pediatric providers now stepping up to champion the importance of oral health integration, treatment and referrals.

Over the course of this project, we have come to see that when medical providers receive information, education and training about oral health, and work together in a collaborative environment, more Virginians receive preventive oral health services and have a dental home.  The recent announcement from Governor McAuliffe, that pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid will have an enhanced dental benefit, highlights the increased awareness among lawmakers of the relationship between oral and overall health.  We believe our efforts will continue to help shape policies about medical and dental health in Virginia for years to come.


Thanks again for your hard work and support in this initiative.  Stay tuned for more news to come -- our work is far from done!  We look forward to keeping you informed and engaged as we continue to expand the oral health network so we can collectively build on our efforts and ensure emerging models of patient care include oral health.  I hope to see you at the Coalition's upcoming Virginia Oral Health Summit on November 14th!


Best wishes,


Sarah Signature

Sarah Bedard Holland

Executive Director, Virginia Oral Health Coalition

Co-chair, Medical and Dental Collaboration Action Team



Susan Motley, CAE

Executive Director, Medical of Society of Virginia Foundation

Co-chair, Medical and Dental Collaboration Action Team

Please take a moment to support the Coalition's work.




Read about the Coalition's accomplishments

 Please check with your HR department to find out if your gift can be matched. 

Please visit our website for more oral health information