Public-private partnership to improve dental health, save lives

The University of Kentucky’s College of Dentistry is launching a project to eradicate oral cancer in Eastern Kentucky. It’s an initiative that will address, head-on, barriers impacting oral health in the region — namely, a lack of awareness regarding oral health risks, and lack of access to opportunities for early diagnosis, dental care and treatment.

The three-year program will include creating a better understanding among Eastern Kentucky residents of the symptoms of oral cancer, as well as raising awareness of the links between heavy alcohol and tobacco use and oral cancer. It also will implement about 1,000 oral cancer screenings at local health departments, help connect patients who need additional care to cancer specialists in Lexington, and aid in their travel to Lexington.

To support this project, the United Health Foundation has awarded the UK College of Dentistry a grant of $1 million. The grant, provided to address the high prevalence of oral cancer in Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties, will be a tremendous boost to the program — and will help improve the oral health of eastern Kentuckians.

Public-private partnerships have becoming increasingly present in Kentucky — from transportation to healthcare.
Read more here.

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