Low-income Americans — more than 74 million of whom are served by Medicaid — face elevated risks for oral disease, including a daunting set of obstacles to oral health care. In most states, Medicaid programs and public health departments share responsibility for addressing the oral health needs of low-income residents, yet each entity typically has its own dental director — often operating in silos. To achieve broad and optimal improvements in oral health, Medicaid dental program directors and state oral health program directors need to work together to transform the oral health care system.
The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) created the State Oral Health Leadership Institute (SOHLI) to bring together state Medicaid dental program directors and state oral health program directors to advance shared goals. This professional development program provided these individuals — working in collaboration — with the necessary leadership skills and policy knowledge to improve access to dental services and oral health outcomes for low-income children and adults.
SOHLI provided leadership training to teams of state Medicaid dental program directors and state oral health program directors in eight states and the District of Columbia. View participating states and team members by selecting a cohort below:
SOHLI teams participated in a program curriculum addressing oral health policy at both the federal and state levels with a focus on:
- Fundamentals of Medicaid dental benefit design, financing, and service delivery models; funding models for public health strategies related to oral health improvement; and approaches to address the social determinants of oral health.
- Leadership and organizational skills necessary to lead complex change within the context of state governments.
- A joint transformation project, providing a foundation for participants to apply newly acquired leadership and policy skills to improve the oral health of residents.
A national advisory group — including leadership from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors — provided additional guidance throughout the program.
SOHLI was a part of CHCS’ leadership and capacity building programs, a unique series of professional development programs supporting state Medicaid directors and their management teams in optimizing the performance of publicly financed care.