The ADAPresident William R. Calnon, DDS, recently thanked the Department ofHealth and Human Services for including oral health among the “leadinghealth indicators" (LHIs) used to evaluate the national’s progress inpromoting health care objectives for the country outlined in Healthy People 2020.

Healthy People 2020 sets out a number of science-based, 10-yearnational objectives to improve the health of all Americans. While oralhealth goals have been set in all three previous Healthy People decades,the 2020 effort marks the first time oral health has been named one ofthe leading health indicators.

In a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Administrator, Calnon wrotethat developing a comprehensive approach to health education andpromotion, care coordination, and effective prevention is critical toimproving the oral health of the underserved.

Calnon’s letter further laid out the principles the ADA believes arecritical to improving oral health access, including emphases onprevention, improving the existing model of dentistry, improvingcoordination between government agencies and programs, and strengtheningthe public-private collaboration.