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Oral Health Workforce Research Center Study Recognizes New Hampshire Oral Health Innovation in New Report
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Oral Health Program
Publish Date:
November 10, 2015

Concord and Littleton, NH – Ammonoosuc Community Health Services (ACHS) has been recognized for achievement in a recent report from the Oral Health Workforce Research Center at the School of Public Health, University of Albany, State University of New York. ACHS was recognized for meeting a need in the community for more dental care through its new clinic and a partnership with the University of New England in Portland, Maine in the opening of a new dental school.

Access to oral health services in New Hampshire, especially in rural areas, is limited for people who receive primary care services from community health providers. As the medical home for many people who lack access to oral health services, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) like Ammonoosuc Community Health Services can meet this need. The ACHS dental clinic opened in Littleton, NH, in December 2014 and in its first eight months served 1,999 patients. Local unmet need for dental services was evidenced by the high number of patients presenting with dental complaints at emergency departments and by the urgent need of patients presenting for care once the clinic opened.

The UNE dental school opened in September 2012 and will graduate its first class in 2017. The dental school's community health–centered curricula presented the opportunity to make ACHS a clinical extern training site for UNE dental students and introduced new dentists to the benefits of working in community health settings and to the opportunities for employment in underserved areas.

"It is not easy to adopt a complicated vision and create a health program that integrates oral health into primary care," said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of the Division Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). "Congratulations to Ammonoosuc Community Health Services for leading the way."

ACHS partnered with DHHS and Bi-State Primary Care Association to secure a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Rural Oral Health Workforce to purchase dental equipment for the new dental center.

"As a one-stop, integrated health home we can meet all of our clients primary care health needs," said Edward Shanshala, Chief Executive Officer, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services. "After we work together to improve their dental condition, clients are more able to obtain a job, afford health and dental care, and help our New Hampshire economy grow."

The Oral Health Workforce Research Center project included case studies of FQHCs across the United States to understand how these health centers integrate primary care and oral health care services. The report, entitled Case Studies of 8 Federally Qualified Health Centers: Strategies to Integrate Oral Health with Primary Care Center, is a result of this research.

For more information about Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, visit www.ammonoosuc.org. To learn about other health home sites like ACHS or about the New Hampshire Oral Health Program, please call the DHHS Oral Health Program at 603-271-4535. The final report, from the Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, University at Albany, can be viewed at http://www.oralhealthworkforce.org/resources/ohwrc-reports-briefs/.

 
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