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Children’s Oral Health Summit Set for Friday at CenCal Health in Santa Barbara

The second Children’s Oral Health Summit, featuring medical and dental providers, public officials, and members of the Children’s Oral Health Collaborative, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 1 in the CenCal Health Hart Auditorium on 4050 Calle Real in Santa Barbara.

Experts in the field and public officials will be presenting 10 years of information about dental disease rates and the impact of prevention strategies to improve children’s oral health in Santa Barbara County.

The summit is geared for health professionals, school and community leaders, medical and dental providers, nurses, members of the philanthropic community, and public officials.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring together all the key players who will share what they have learned about children’s oral health in recent years, and to make plans for moving 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 part of the collaborative.

Participants will learn about local concerns and hear from experts about the larger health impacts that poor oral health has on children. They will also discuss the role of pediatric medical providers in providing oral health assessment, some promising methods to prevent or stabilize dental risks in young children, suggestions as how 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, associate professor of pediatrics and of preventive and restorative dental sciences at UC San Francisco, and Dr. Irene Hilton, a consultant with the National Network for Oral Health Access.

Local presenters will include Dr. Betty Lane, executive director of the Santa Barbara-Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation; First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal; Dr. Mark Maddox, chief medical officer of CenCal Health; and MaryEllen Rehse, Oral Health Program manager for the Santa Barbara County Education Office Health Linkages program.

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, KIDS Network, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Direct Relief International, and the Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation.

Further information is available from Naoko Gamble at the Health Linkages program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. She can be reached at 805.964.4710 x4453.

— Kris Bergstrom is the communications director for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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