State and Oral Health Coalitions

Thirty-eight states have oral health coalitions that are made up of people from a variety of interest groups all working to promote oral health. Coalition members could represent: mental health, school districts, day care centers, school nurses, people with disabilities, legislators, insurance companies, and foundations to name just a few. Typically these coalitions have activities, newsletters, meetings and often webinars that involve a multitude of individuals interested in oral health. Membership in the coalitions is often free or for a small fee. Consider becoming an active member of your local coalition by attending meetings and perhaps join a specific committee in the coalition. Receiving the coalition’s newsletter on a regular basis can connect you with individuals and notices about upcoming positions and events in dental public health.

ACTIVITY POINT: Take a moment and check the list of state oral health coalitions found in Appendix B. This list is generated by the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions (ANOHC.org).2 As you look at this list, you will notice among the states some of the staff are registered dental hygienists. Some of the coalitions hire staff to conduct specially funded projects or operate the coalitions. By becoming active with these coalitions, you will position yourself as a person ready to be hired for special projects that may arise. Also take a moment to explore the entire website of the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions: ANOHC.org.

You may also find that regions of your state or counties have local coalitions that promote oral health. A call to your local county health department to ask if such a coalition exists could link you to others in your community who have an interest in dental public health.