A healthier Miami-Dade is a more prosperous Miami-Dade. This goes for households, the economy, and our government. Florida has a long way to go when it comes to healthcare accessibility and affordability. Luckily, many solutions are available.
In 2020, Catalyst Miami will go to Tallahassee to demand that...
- Medicaid be expanded generally, and that more oral health providers be incorporated into our existing Medicaid program;
- a dental student college debt waiver program be established in order to promote service provision in low-income areas;
- Florida’s Attorney General withdraws our state from a lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, advocates for supported decision-making for people with disabilities to exercise their full legal capacity, and supports oral health coverage for adults and pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid.
More on Oral Health Equity
In 2016, 59.8% of Hispanic adults and 67.8% of black adults in Miami-Dade County had visited the dentist in the past 12 months. In addition, Florida ranks 45th out of 50 in the number of Medicaid-eligible children receiving any preventive dental services. To help solve this issue that is critical to the overall health of our residents, Catalyst Miami and our Miami-Dade Oral Health Network (MDOHN) partners work to increase oral health equity and access through school-based strategies, community policy and advocacy work, and education and awareness initiatives.
Our efforts in 2019 included piloting, thanks to $5,000 in funding from the Dentaquest Foundation, a water filling station program in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University and Miami Booker T. Washington High School. This school-based project is designed to promote higher intake of fluoridated water, reduce cavities in children attending Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), help ensure healthy weight and hydration of children in M-DCPS, and reduce environmental waste. Additional 2019 work included conducting community outreach to educate and create awareness among Miami-Dade residents about oral health disparities and ways to create equity; participating at community resource and health fairs to ensure maximum use of existing resources available; and lobbying activities, including a visit to the nation’s capital to advocate for progressive oral health legislation.
Our partnerships in the MDOHN have allowed us to create a community-friendly policy guide, a Medicare toolkit, fact sheets, literature reviews, and white papers, all of which are designed to help community members and organizations conduct their work in ways that are inclusive of the communities most disenfranchised in oral and overall healthcare. Thanks to our partnerships, we have been able to create awareness by participating in community outreach events that facilitated interaction with an estimated 2,000 community residents and partners in 2019 alone.