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In North Carolina, there is an oral health crisis impacting people of all ages, in all counties. Lack of access and high out-of-pocket costs has led to low numbers of dentist visits in the state, ultimately causing a widespread prevalence of preventable oral disease. Additionally, poor oral health has consequences beyond tooth decay, and can dramatically lower quality of life, impacting overall health, health care costs, employability, and ability to enjoy many activities of every day life.
Development of the NCOHC
Over the last decade, innovative initiatives have been implemented in North Carolina to better promote oral health. While evidence of progress toward reducing dental disease and improving access to care is apparent, difficult and persistent challenges remain. In an effort to provide solution to these remaining challenges, stakeholders across the state came together with the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation in 2013 to form the NC Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC).
The NCOHC Today
Committed to ensuring that all North Carolinians, regardless of geography, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, age, or mental/physical illness have access to quality and affordable dental care, the NCOHC works to achieve oral health equity for all North Carolinians. Under the leadership of Zulayka Santiago and Rhonda Stephens, the NCOHC convenes diverse stakeholders to identify and resolve barriers to good oral health and to accelerate the implementation of proven policies and practices. The NCHOC is growing, and with new grants provided by The Duke Endowment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the DentaQuest Foundation, the NCHOC is better able to move its work forward.
Most recently the NCOHC launched its Capacity Building Mini-Grants program to establish partnerships with 7 community-based nonprofits across the state. Today, the NCOHC’s membership continues to grow, representing individuals and organizations that offer an array of perspectives and resources.
For more information about NCOHC, visit their website.
To actively engage with and participate in the NCOHC, please sign our Statement of Support.