The “Improving Oral Health Across the Lifespan” (IOHAL) program will seek to achieve policy, system, and environmental changes to improve access and prevention of oral health care issues among children and adults with special health care needs. The three main goals are; Policy, Provider and Consumer Education. These goals were built upon the recommendations of the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities, 5 year- plan on “Addressing Barriers to Oral Health and Health Care for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey” developed by Columbia College of Dental Medicine and the National Center for Children in Poverty (released March 2019). To guide the implementation of inclusive strategies the initiative will use the IHC six-phased approach (figure 1) to create local-level change through the already established Oral Health Coalition to plan and implement sustainable oral health improvements. The successful implementation of this effort will lead us to:

  • A Dental Directory for people with disabilities participating with the NJ Family Care Program
  • Provide input on the design of NJ Department of Health Oral Health Action Plan (5-year road map)
  • The design and implementation of provider and community education webinar series
  • Policy awareness and education to increase dental workforce training and access to oral health care for people with disabilities