The Oral Health Program is the latest dental program to be cut as a result of the economic recession. Earlier this week, the Department of Health announced that the Oral Health Program had been eliminated. Recent budget cuts resulted in the elimination of the Oral Health Program's funding from the state 2011-13 biennium budget. The program had been relying on federal funding for a time, but these funds expired this month.
The following statement was released by Paj Nandi, Section Manager for Community Based Prevention at DOH:
"The department remains committed to promoting and supporting good oral health for people in Washington. We are working to determine next steps for the program, given limited resources and budget. We value your partnership, and will seek your advice and input along the way. I plan to keep you informed as we reassess our internal structure and budget over the next few months."
DOH's Oral Health Program had worked on several oral health activities, including the implementation of the 2005 and 2010 Smile Surveys, the 2009 Oral Health Workforce Report, and the 2012 Sealant Guidelines for Dental Providers. Dr. Joseli Alves-Dunkerson has served as the program manager for several years.