Social determinants of health are factors or conditions in the environments where people live, learn, and work that can influence as much as 40 percent of individual health outcomes. While many current initiatives to improve health at the state and local level are beginning to address social determinants, few efforts focus on oral health. Considering the close connection between oral health and overall health, and their shared barriers to care, there are untapped opportunities to address how social issues influence oral health.

This webinar, made possible through the DentaQuest Foundation, introduced a framework for creating partnerships in the community to address social determinants of health, with an emphasis on oral health. The discussion featured how two organizations, United Way of Central Jersey and Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), are planning to address social determinants of oral health in their communities. Both organizations were participants in a recent CHCS learning collaborative on engaging the community to address social determinants.


I. Introduction and Overview of Framework to Build Partnerships around Social Determinants of Oral Health

Speaker: June Glover, Program Officer, Center for Health Care Strategies

J. Glover discussed working definitions of social determinants of health and ways to identify which specific determinants are influencing oral health outcomes in a community. She introduced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s framework for building community partnerships to address social determinants of health and highlighted techniques and tools to conduct community needs assessments, map resources, tailor effective approaches, and evaluate efforts.

II. Perspectives from the Field: Community-based Organizations Partnering to Address Social Determinants

Speakers: Bill Dennison, Director, Major Markets, United Way of Central Jersey; and Parrish Ravelli, Team Lead, Access to Health Care Initiative, YES!

B. Dennison discussed how the United Way of Central Jersey plans to address social determinants of oral health among low-income populations in Middlesex County, New Jersey, by launching a collaboration dedicated to promoting oral health education in local schools.

P. Ravelli described how YES! is working in Wake County, North Carolina, to improve access to oral health services for low-income children and their parents.