U.S. Senator Marshall Visits Heartland Community Health Center to Promote Oral Health

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., visited Heartland Community Health Center during Children’s Dental Health Month see the impact of CDC’s Oral Health program. During the visit, Heartland presented Senator Marshall with the Distinguished Health Center Champion award from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for his ongoing commitment to supporting community health centers nationwide.

 

Senator Marshall’s visit to Heartland focused on understanding the dental health needs of the local community and acknowledging the vital role of community health centers. Heartland, as the sole community health center in Douglas County, serves as a lifeline for more than 20,000 individuals in Northeast Kansas, including providing essential dental care to families through initiatives like the Healthy Futures program.

 

Through Heartland’s Healthy Futures program, the organization provides dental care to 2,903 children in 102 schools in Kansas, at no cost to uninsured families. In 2023, only 6 percent of pediatric dental visits at Heartland were from children with commercial insurance, 36 percent used Medicaid, and a staggering 58 percent had no insurance coverage.

 

Mollie Day, DDS, Heartland’s Chief Dental Officer, emphasized the significance of Senator Marshall’s visit in raising awareness of the critical need for expanded access to dental services. “Oral health is a cornerstone of overall wellness and we are grateful for the opportunity to show Sen. Marshall first-hand the impact our dental program has on families across the State,” said Day.

 

Heartland’s dedication to promoting oral health aligns with Senator Marshall’s recent bipartisan efforts, including introducing the Promoting Dental Health Act. This legislation aims to reauthorize the CDC’s Oral Health Program, which plays a pivotal role in preventing cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues through various public health initiatives.

 

“As a physician, I cannot stress enough the importance of prioritizing your oral health and dental care,” Senator Marshall said in a press release. “Reauthorizing critical funding for this Oral Health program will help our Kansas communities promote good oral health habits and prevent disease.”

 

During the visit, Senator Marshall toured Heartland’s dental suite and the Care Cupboard, highlighting the interconnectedness of physical health, mental health, and diet. Heartland’s comprehensive approach to healthcare, encompassing dental services, nutrition assistance, and educational programs, exemplifies the integrated care model essential for addressing the diverse needs of underserved members of the community.

 

“Physical health, mental health, dental health, it’s all connected,” said Elizabeth Keever, Chief Development Officer. “Through our integrated approach to wellness, we provide all these services for patients under one roof. This allows our providers to collaborate and address the root cause of a person’s symptoms, including social determinants of health.”

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U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., met with Heartland's Chief Dental Officer, Mollie Day, DDS, Chief Development Officer, Elizabeth Keever, and additional staff to see the impact of the oral health program.