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Education Office Sponsors Children’s Oral Health Summit

Medical and dental providers, public officials and others will collaborate at the June 25 event

The first-ever Children’s Oral Health Summit will feature medical and dental providers, public officials and members of the Children’s Oral Health Collaborative to share information and make plans for the next steps in children’s oral health care, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 25 at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.

The summit, which planners hope will become an annual event, is geared for health professionals, school and community leaders, medical and dental providers, nurses, members of the philanthropic community and public officials.

The registration deadline is June 11.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring together all the key players who will hear what we have learned about children’s oral health to date, and to make plans for how to move forward in this county to improve the oral health of all our children,” said Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office is coordinating the event.

Participants will learn about challenges faced by local organizations providing oral health services to vulnerable children, as well as accomplishments to date. Information provided will include dental screening results showing that nearly 40 percent of preschool children screened in Santa Barbara County have untreated tooth decay.

They will hear from experts about the impact that poor oral health has on the overall health of children; the role of pediatric medical providers in providing oral health assessment and education about the prevention of dental caries; risk factors for dental caries in young children; promising methods to prevent or stabilize dental caries in young children; ways to increase access to dental care for young children; ways to develop and sustain a community oral health program, and an understanding of cultural differences and approaches to counseling families of different cultures.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Susan Fisher-Owens, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UC San Francisco, and Dr. Jared Fine, a dental health administrator at the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.

Local presenters will include Caroline Turner of the Santa Barbara-Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation; Janet Wolf, chairwoman of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors; Dr. Marjorie Domingo, a dentist; Dr. Peter Hasler, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s medical director; Dr. Sam Burg of Dentistry for Children in Santa Maria; Dr. George Lyman, a pediatric dentist in Santa Barbara; Dr. Rafael Victoria of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Franklin Health Care Center; Barbara Ramirez of the office of Dr. Robert Barry in Santa Maria; and Dr. Joseph Mercardante, dental services director for Community Health Centers of the Central Coast.

The summit is sponsored by the Health Linkages program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office in partnership with Santa Barbara County Children’s Oral Health Collaborative, First 5 Santa Barbara, the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County, the California Medical Association, KIDS Network, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Direct Relief International and the Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation.

— Wendy Shelton is director of communications for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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