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DHMH Press Releases : oral health summit



Summit to take place at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel October 20-21 


Baltimore, MD (October 18, 2011) - Officials from the Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC), and the Santa Fe Group, along with United States Congressman Elijah Cummings, Frances B. Phillips, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), and Marcia Brand, Deputy Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will kick off Maryland's first Oral Health Summit on Thursday, October 20, 2011.  

The Maryland Oral Health Summit will celebrate Maryland's many successes in oral health that have occurred since the tragic death of 12-year old Deamonte Driver in 2007,  from a tooth infection that spread to his brain. The program will also recognize Maryland oral health heroes and develop a policy agenda for the implementation of the first Maryland Oral Health Plan: 2011­-2015.    

"This summit is a major step forward for oral health in Maryland and throughout the nation," said United States Congressman Elijah Cummings. "We will never forget Deamonte's legacy. Since his tragic death, Maryland has made significant improvements in oral health, especially for the underserved, but more needs to be done. I will continue to fight to ensure that all children have access to quality oral health."   

Since 2006, Maryland increased access to care by 28 percent and increased the number of dental providers participating in the Maryland Medicaid Program by 44 percent. The Pew Center on the States, a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts, has also ranked Maryland as the top state in the nation for meeting the dental needs of children, based on eight key benchmarks.  

At the Summit, oral health leaders from across the nation will also work to develop an agenda and timeline for the implementation of the Maryland Oral Health Plan that was completed in May 2011. The Maryland Oral Health Plan: 2011-2015 provides a 5-year strategic approach that addresses three key areas in oral health: access to oral health care, oral disease and injury prevention, and oral health literacy and education. It is a living document that is reviewed annually and modified as needed.  

"We will discuss and share challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned locally and nationally about how to promote oral health," said Beth Lowe, Chair, Maryland Dental Action Coalition. "Attendees and experts will provide innumerable benefits to us as individuals, as organizational representatives, and as initiators of positive change in the field of oral health. We are especially grateful for our sponsors, speakers, moderators, facilitators, and planning committee."   

The Maryland Dental Action Coalition (MDAC) and the Santa Fe Group have partnered to create the Maryland Oral Health Summit in an effort to broaden their mutual learning and partnerships and to extend the conversation of the importance of oral health both locally and nationally. Groups such as social service organizations, schools, professional organizations, legislative representatives, advocacy groups and universities will attend the two-day event. The Summit is dedicated to the memory of Deamonte Driver and Dr. John P. Rossetti, a distinguished Maryland public health dentist who will be remembered for his generous nature and willingness to help others.  

The Maryland Oral Health Summit will be held at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel, Columbia, MD October 20 - 21, 2011.  Activities and presentations begin at 7:45 a.m. on both days.     


Maryland Dental Action Coalition

The mission of the Maryland Dental Action Coalition is to develop and maintain a statewide partnership of individuals committed to improved health among all Marylanders through increased oral health prevention, education, advocacy, and access to dental care.  

Santa Fe Group

The Santa Fe Group fosters policy and initiates actions to improve the health and well-being of the public. Their mission is accomplished by analyzing and disseminating health program and policy information, by creating networks of concerned citizens from all walks of life, and by developing advocacy programs to promote change for improved health. Their vision is to help shape the future of health through an action-oriented think tank that has a passion for the public good.  

For more information, contact Penny Anderson, MDAC Executive Director at 410-884-8294 or email: To review the Summit Agenda, Oral Health Plan or to learn more about oral health, visit 

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