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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Grantee Information

Organization: Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Office of Health Equity (OHE)

Organization Address: 250 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02108

Phone Number: 617-624-5590

Fax Number: 617-624-6062

Organization website URL (if any):

Brief Description of the Organization: The Massachusetts Office of Health Equity (OHE) promotes the

health and well being of racial, ethnic and linguistic minority populations throughout the

Commonwealth by increasing the Department of Public Health's capacity to respond effectively to the

critical public health needs of these communities. Because racial and ethnic minority groups currently

experiencing poorer health status are expected to growth in population, while other groups will decline

in growth, the future health of Massachusetts as a whole will be influenced substantially by OHE’s success in improving the health of these racial and ethnic minorities.

Grant Project Information

Title of Grant Project: Massachusetts Oral Health Equity Project

Amount of OMH Award: $200,000

Name of Project Director: Georgia Simpson May

Phone Number of Project Director: 617-624-5590

E-mail Address of Project Director:


The Massachusetts Oral Health Equity Project is designed to address the Healthy People 2020 leading indicator for oral health: persons who visited the dentist in the past year. The Office of Health Equity (OHE) has chosen oral health because: (a) it is one of the few Healthy People 2020 leading indicators on which Massachusetts has not made progress in the last decade, and (b) OHE believes there is an opportunity to demonstrate improvements in health outcomes in the selected geographic hotspots by addressing health disparities that affect minorities. The project focuses on children up to age 14 in Worcester and Holyoke, two cities with disparities in oral health access and outcomes and large proportions of racial and ethnic minority residents.

The project, led by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Office of Health Equity (OHE) in close partnership with the MDPH Office of Oral Health, has two overall goals:

(1) Community impact: Increase by 10% over baseline (to be established by month 6) the number of children up to age 14 from low-income racial and ethnic minority communities in the cities of Worcester and Holyoke who visit the dentist/dental hygienist each year.

(2) Statewide impact: Disseminate lessons learned about project methods and results; develop plans for statewide adoption of best practices to reduce oral health disparities for Black and Hispanic children.

The project’s first objective is to build on the OMH requirement for a Health Disparities Profile to conduct a participatory community process that will produce both the Profile and a local Community Engagement Plan. Based on the local Community Engagement Plans, MDPH will partner with an experienced mobile provider, ForsythKids, who can also refer children to a community provider if more services are needed. As the project moves to engage underserved Black and Latino communities and connect children to mobile dental services, it will also link children and families to a longer-term source of care in an oral health home. Lastly, MDPH will produce and disseminate at least one article submitted to a peer-reviewed journal; at least one statewide, regional or national conference presentation; a “lessons learned” report on project methods and results; and, a Statewide Oral Health Equity plan for sustaining and scaling oral health equity efforts beyond the two target cities.

Expected outcomes include:

  • Increased knowledge of contributing factors to oral health disparities in Holyoke & Worcester; increased knowledge of local oral health disparities in Holyoke and Worcester; increased plans that promote oral health access in Holyoke & Worcester; and, increased public awareness of oral health disparities in Holyoke & Worcester.
  • Increased number of Black and Latino youth referred to dental providers and increased number of Black and Latino youth that have an oral health home.
  • Increased knowledge of oral health disparities, an increased public awareness of oral health disparities in Massachusetts, and an increased plans and policies that promote oral health access in Massachusetts.

MDPH will evaluate program performance by leveraging existing data sources, creating new data collection systems only when necessary to collect key process indicators, and supporting a continuous evaluation process to inform progress towards outcomes and impacts. The evaluation plan will examine the three objectives separately and then together to measure their impact on the two project goals and ultimately evaluate their impact on the Health People 2020 goal of increased access to oral health care.

The Massachusetts Oral Health Equity Project will report on several of the Office of Minority Health Evaluation performance measures. These performance measures align with either the community impact goal or the statewide impact goal. The following performance measures will be collected:

  • Number of individuals participating in meetings to develop community engagement plan and health disparities profile;
  • Number of partnerships established to enhance coordination and collaboration efforts to address oral health disparities in minority populations;
  • Number of FTEs on grant project staff supported by OMH funding;
  • Amount of funding, staffing, and other resources leveraged through partnerships to address oral health disparities;
  • OMH-funded interventions targeting individual level factors;
  • OMH-funded interventions targeting community/environmental level factors;
  • Number of individuals who receive oral health referrals based on results of community-based screenings;
  • Number of texts, manuscripts, and other articles about funded projects published in peer-reviewed journals and other venues; and
  • Number of public policies developed, adopted, and implemented with regard to racial and ethnic minority health and health disparities issues as a result of funded programs.


None identified by the grantee.


  • OH-7: Increase the proportion of children, adolescents, and adults who used the oral health care system in the past year.
1/12/2016 9:49:00 AM