Launched in 2001 through a collaborative effort of the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) and the Dental Health Foundation (DHF, now the Center for Oral Health), the Oral Health Access Council (OHAC) is a multi lateral, non partisan effort directed toward improving the oral health status of the state's traditionally underserved and vulnerable populations. With a membership of over 60 consortia and associations representing a diversity of oral health stakeholders, OHAC has become California's most broad-based and unified voice for oral health. It is important to note that OHAC is not simply an advisory group; rather, it is an action oriented organization whose members are committed to accomplishing the work necessary to bring about systemic change.

OHAC Mission

Improve the oral health of California’s underserved and vulnerable populations.

Guiding Principles

OHAC Supports policies that:

  • Increase access to oral health services
  • Eliminate barriers to care
  • Acknowledge that oral health is essential to overall health
  • Prevent disease
  • Increase the public’s awareness of California’s oral health needs and the measures needed to address them effectively
  • Reduce disparities

OHAC Structure

Membership:

OHAC membership has grown to include over 60 organizations, representing a wide variety of California's diverse oral health stakeholders, including clinic consortia; organized assisting, hygiene and dentistry; dental schools; children’s organizations, hospital associations; public health departments; children’s dental programs; ethnic health organizations; and school-based associations. All OHAC members execute a memorandum of agreement (MOA) affirming their commitment to cosponsor OHAC's goals and outlining the terms of their participation. Each member organization may have up to two votes on all issues.

Meetings:

OHAC is not merely an advisory group—it is an action-oriented organization. The entire OHAC membership meets three times per year in different locations throughout the state. Meetings are open to anyone. Meetings are typically held from 11:00am to 3:00pm on Wednesdays in the following locations:

  • Sacramento (September)
  • Oakland (January)
  • Los Angeles (May)

Governance

OHAC is governed by a steering committee of 8 members. These include representation from the two managing partner organizations—Center for Oral Health and the California Primary Care Association, the chair of the Policy Committee, and 5 elected members.

Strategic Plan

Goal 1: Influence Health Reform

  • Ensure that any major health care reform that is adopted includes oral health coverage
  • Work with newly formed Department of Public Health and legislators to establish a State Dental Director
  • Establish a Governor’s Commission on dental access

Goal 2: Expand/Maintain existing programs

  • Increase funding for the dental loan repayment program and improve its effectiveness
  • Maintain Denti-Cal and Healthy Families benefits

Goal 3: Expand Benefits/Access

  • Ensure that Federally Qualified Health Centers are able to receive reimbursement for dental hygienist providers
  • Use AB 1433 to educate the public about children’s oral health

Goal 4: Infrastructure

Expand the workforce:

  • In the safety net
  • In shortage areas
  • Cultural competencies

Increase facilities:

  • Expand the number of clinics that have dental capacity
  • Expand dental capacity in existing facilities

Goal 5: Communication and Leadership Development

  • Develop talking points and training for OHAC members to speak with local government boards to support oral health at the local level
  • Develop communications strategies for reaching members and other advocacy constituencies
  • Expand collaborative efforts

OHAC Sponsored Events

  • June 15, 2007: Legislative Briefing: Putting Teeth in Health Reform
  • July 19, 2006:  Children’s Oral Health Educational Tour, for legislative staff, journalists and foundation staff
  • February 28, 2006: Informational Hearing: Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Children’s Oral Health
  • February 6, 2006: Seven simultaneous press conferences in Eureka, Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego to release the California Smile Survey
  • April 19, 2005: Idealized Design of a System for Providing Oral Health Services to Children (meeting participants and agenda)
  • September 29, 2003: From Protocols to Policy: A Consensus Conference to Increase Children’s Access to Early Preventive Dental Services
  • March 18-19, 2003: California’s Oral Health Conference for Safety Net Providers

Funding

OHAC is currently funded through grants from the California Endowment and the California Wellness Foundation. Previous funders include: the California Healthcare Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente.