Access to and awareness of oral healthcare in the United States have been highlighted in the mass media and discussed among diverse populations. The current surge to provide access to oral healthcare for citizens springs from this quagmire of oral healthcare issues which affects global to local (grassroots) communities. Publications by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health for All and the United States' Healthy People have set into motion an agenda by which institutions, healthcare professionals and governments can develop action plans to foster and nurture grassroots organizations to address these issues. An initiative has been undertaken by members of the faculty, student doctors and staff of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Dentistry (UTHSC CoD) and its partners. This cadre of volunteers has implemented grassroots efforts for the citizens of western Tennessee to date as the flagship of Tennessee Smiles: UT Grassroots Oral Health Outreach Initiative (Tennessee Smiles). By participation in health fairs, school programs and other cultural events, these volunteers have made a difference in the lives of thousands of Tennessee citizens who need exposure to information regarding their oral health care needs. The authors discuss the basis for the Tennessee Smiles organization, their successes and challenges. Future plans and the need for support of the organization are emphasized.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||The Journal of the Tennessee Dental Association|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2011|
ASJC Scopus subject areas