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DOE & Partners Aim to Promote Oral Health

December 4, 2017, 8:45 AM HST
* Updated December 4, 7:17 AM
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The Hawai‘i Dental Association (HDA) and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) are renewing their commitment to educating kids about the importance of dental hygiene. The agencies have continued their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to promote oral health by teaching students proper dental hygiene techniques and providing information about access to free dental health services.

HDA will conduct informational presentations in HIDOE first and second grade classes on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island through December 2017 and again from January through February 2018, which is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

“Our goal with establishing healthcare partnerships, like this one with the Hawai‘i Dental Association, is to provide access to health services for our students so they can show up to school healthy, engaged and ready to learn,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “Mahalo to everyone involved in this partnership—from the dentists to our teachers—it is an important step to ensuring our students are getting proper oral healthcare.”

These efforts are also part of a national initiative from the American Dental Association to bring preventative education and dental services to underserved children, which includes 92,000 economically disadvantaged public school students in Hawai‘i.

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“During the first year of this partnership, we had 10 dentists educate more than 700 students,” added Hawai‘i Public Policy Advocate President Melissa Pavlicek. “We look forward to continuing the success of this partnership and expanding outreach even further this year. We encourage schools and teachers that are interested to contact Danny Cup Choy at (808) 447-1840.”

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This partnership highlights the work that has been done by the department to ensure that all students come to school healthy and ready to learn.

Other healthcare partners include the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, which launched the “Hawai‘i Keiki” program with the department in 2014 and has increased school-based health services.

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