Innovation, Integration and Celebration – Takeaways from NNOHA Annual Conference

Being new to the Virginia Oral Health Coalition I was excited to attend the 2018 National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) conference and learn more from our partners around the country.

I was impressed by the size and scope of the conference and left with several takeaways.

Innovation:  A key focus for the conference was innovation. As Dr. Paul Glassman pointed out in the session “An Evolving Oral Health Industry: Opportunities for Health Centers” there are fewer students going into dentistry and more patients in need of care. To address the needs of patients, providers must find new, innovative ways to serve the patients in their communities.

Integration:  In the session “Diabetes and the Dental Professional.” facilitator Dr. Jerry Brown discussed how oral health professionals may be the first to notice that a patient has diabetes.  Periodontal disease is a risk factor for diabetes, and improving oral health for people with diabetes can improve overall health outcomes. To better serve the whole person, providers have to think outside of silos and work towards a more integrated approach to care.

Celebration:  Dr. Brian Novy and Dr. Allison Jackson in their two respective sessions helped me to see the role of celebration in the work that we do.  Dr. Novy is a dentist that works from a value-based approach, and he discussed the importance of telling patients what they are doing right and not just what they are doing wrong.  Dr. Jackson, CEO of Integration Solutions, discussed how we all can support resilience in people and communities.

As I grow in my tenure here at the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, I look forward to taking what I learned from the NNOHA annual conference and working with you to create a health care system that works for all Virginians.

See NNOHA resources here.