FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Connecticut Department of Public Health

September 15, 2008                                         Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                         (860) 509-7270


Hartford–   The Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the receipt of a five year, $1.25 million Cooperative Agreement Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen the state’s oral health program and improve the oral health of Connecticut residents.  


The DPH also announced the receipt of a $25,000 "Healthy Aging Opportunities" grant award from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors to address many of the challenges in making oral health services more readily available to older adults in Connecticut.  


DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. stated “oral health is more and more recognized as essential to an individual’s overall health.  We know that dental disease can have very serious consequences for the health and well being of children and adults.  This money provides an opportunity to expand our abilities to address this important public health issue.”


According to the CDC, the Cooperative Agreement Grant is “designed to improve basic state oral health services including program leadership and staff support, monitoring oral disease risk factors, and creating and evaluating disease prevention programs such as school-based sealant programs.”


The "Healthy Aging Opportunities" 18-month grant award allows the DPH to support the State’s Task Force on Oral Health for Older Adults in the development of strategies and activities to improve the oral health and enhance the Healthy Aging of Connecticut’s residents.


This was a very competitive grant process for the states,” according to DPH State Oral Health Director Ardell A. Wilson, D.D.S., M.P.H. “We are delighted we will now have more support to increase our efforts on population-based oral health strategies such as dental sealant programs and access to, and utilization of, oral disease preventive interventions.”


Despite national improvements in oral health, significant dental disease exists across all age groups, especially for people with lower incomes and lower educational levels and for some racial and ethnic groups.  


According to the CDC, strong state-based programs are critical to the nation’s oral health.


Dr. Wilson said “it is anticipated that over the next five years Connecticut will be able to increase its policies and programs supporting the prevention of oral diseases.” 


CDC worked with the Association of State and Territorial Disease Directors, state oral health programs, and national experts to establish eight essential components for developing and improving the system and ability of state-based oral health programs. 


As part of the Cooperative Agreement Grant, DPH will use these best practice approaches to engage in additional opportunities to educate residents on the importance of oral health, enhance oral health coalitions and other partnerships, develop state plans to improve oral health, and monitor whether the states' oral health objectives are being met. 


The "Healthy Aging Opportunities" grant award will assist in facilitating the Task Force on Oral Health for Older Adults in developing a statewide work plan, achieving the goals and objectives of that work plan, and preparing reports on all work.  


The findings of these work group reports will be used to develop appropriate oral health and other health programs to support Healthy Aging, promote collaborations with additional partners involved in Healthy Aging activities, and ensure that oral health and oral health promotion is a vital component of all Healthy Aging activities throughout the state.


For more information about oral health, the CDC grant award and the Task Force on Oral Health for Older Adults, visit the DPH web site at and click “Programs and Services” then click the “Oral Health” program link, or call 509-7382.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the Department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.