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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

SUNY Albany Finds Underserved Populations in Kentucky at Risk for Oral Health Disparities

The University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) recent report, “Oral Health in Kentucky,” details findings about the oral health of people in the state of Kentucky.

The study found Kentucky is second in the nation in the incidence of oral and pharyngeal cancers and fifth highest in the U.S. for adults 65 or older who have had all their natural teeth extracted.
When compared to other states on a range of health and oral health indicators, Kentucky also ranks high in rates of chronic disease, infant mortality, substance abuse, oral cancer and tooth loss in the population.

Despite statewide initiatives to improve oral health status in Kentucky’s residents, the research found oral health disparities persist. Low income children and adults, people living in rural areas, the elderly, pregnant women, and special needs populations were at greater risk for poor oral health status and outcomes than others in the state.

The report is based on an extensive literature review and analysis of secondary data CHWS has done similar research in Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

“While Kentucky has made great strides in expanding access to oral health services for underserved populations, more needs to be done,” says CHWS project director Ms. Margaret Langelier. “Continued support to the state’s safety net providers is essential to efforts that can further reduce oral health disparities in Kentucky.”

Other important findings from this report include:

The report findings will be presented and discussed with the Kentucky legislature at the Senate and House Committee meetings in Frankfort, KY on February 24 and 25, respectively.

The full report is available here.