Catalyst Health Equity Practice Award
2019 Awardee | Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency
Calaveras has deepened its understanding of a silent “rural morbidity penalty”, defined as the true morbidity in a rural population with more health disparities than their urban counterpart, even when controlling for education, income, poverty and race. While limited resources, higher margins of error, and limited access to skilled health professionals to analyze the data present challenges, Calaveras utilized an Oral Health Needs Assessment focused on high poverty, rural areas in creative ways. The Assessment revealed the extent of tooth loss in the county, previously unknown, as well as other challenges that residents face when trying to maintain their oral health. It not only highlighted the oral health status and challenges of a rural area but provided data that can be used to advocate for resources and guide intervention to improve oral health. The act of collecting data and including community members in the process gave voice to oral health as well as formed community partnerships that informed the Calaveras Oral Health Improvement Plan.
Kelsey Holmes, Health Education Specialist for the Calaveras County Health & Human Services Agency, accepts Advancing Health Equity Award at a Dec. 3 ceremony in Oakland, CA. Photo courtesy of The California Endowment.