Harmony Health Foundation has secured a landmark state contract with the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that marks the start of a transformative journey towards expanding access to healthcare for underserved communities.
The competitive contract opportunity issued by the Tennessee Department of General Services sought partners with specialized expertise in dental technology to provide consultation services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
“The Harmony Health Foundation, in alliance with Oral Genome, is dedicated to driving positive change in underserved communities through the strategic utilization of innovative technologies,” said founder, Dr. Tina Saw. “Our primary focus is on improving oral health while also fostering community development, underpinned by our commitment to health equity. Through collaborative proactive advocacy, we uplift marginalized populations to ensure that innovative technologies lead to tangible improvements in oral health and overall community well-being.”
Individuals with I/DD have limited access to preventive dental services, resulting in higher rates of untreated dental conditions and poorer oral health outcomes. An ongoing national and state dental healthcare workforce crisis is exacerbating access to care for the I/DD population in Tennessee, leading to long wait times and challenges addressing critical dental needs. This state contract award represents a significant step toward realizing both the state and organization’s commitment to making a meaningful impact in communities across Tennessee.
“Dr Tina Saw is fearlessly blazing a trail, uncovering the critical strategies necessary to achieve tangible and sustainable results in elevating both oral health and whole-body health for at-risk populations,” said collaborative partner and periodontal hygienist Katrina M Sanders, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF. “This leading-edge program will establish a precedent of innovation and excellence, advancing the expectations for all community oral health programs and in turn, creating a powerful catalyst for the standardization of critical accountability, verified deliverables and optimal results.”
The project has the potential to facilitate preventive care at home for individuals facing barriers to accessing traditional healthcare by using Oral Genome’s point-of-care saliva tests.
Harmony Health Foundation will also work with the American Institute of Dental Public Health, a leader in advancing equitable oral health policy, to conduct community-engaged research and workforce education.
“This funding is a critical catalyst in addressing access to care for I/DD communities in Tennessee and AIDPH is honored to be a part of the solution,” stated AIDPH co-founder and executive director, Dr. Annaliese Cothron. “AIDPH is deeply invested in our partnership with Harmony Health Foundation and Oral Genome as we pursue our mission of empowering communities to advance oral health through science, education, and advocacy to achieve a justice-oriented oral health system.”
“Oral health is critical to the overall health and well-being of all persons, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said DIDD commissioner, Brad Turner. “I’m hopeful this partnership will empower people with disabilities and their supporters to better manage at-home dental needs with new tools and increase education about the importance of preventative care.”
Harmony Health Foundation is excited about the incredible opportunity to positively impact the oral health and well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee. This state contract signifies a tremendous win for the non-profit and marks the beginning of a journey dedicated to helping individuals attain essential healthcare services.
About Harmony Health Foundation
Harmony Health Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to using innovative technologies to drive positive change in underserved communities. Our primary focus is on enhancing oral health and fostering community development while advocating for health equity. We collaborate with partners and actively engage in change management and efforts to uplift marginalized populations. Visit www.harmonyhealthfoundation.org for more information.
About the American Institute of Dental Public Health
The American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) is a 501c3 nonprofit centering health equity as a cornerstone of oral health education and training. We offer educational training for oral health professionals, support student growth and career development in dental public health, and serve as conveners of stature to facilitate systems change in the oral health community. AIDPH was established to pursue our mission of empowering communities to advance oral health through science, education, and advocacy. Join us as we create our vision: a justice-oriented oral health system. To learn more, visit aidph.org and follow us on Threads, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
About Oral Genome
Oral Genome is a point-of-care dental saliva test in the field of oral health diagnostics. It is dedicated to mitigating health risks associated with oral health while establishing essential links between oral and systemic health. With the understanding that numerous diseases find their origins in oral health and that many oral conditions are preventable, Oral Genome places significant emphasis on delivering at-home recommendations to patients. Serving as a critical screening tool, it empowers individuals to take proactive steps toward improved oral health and overall well-being. Visit www.oralgenome.com for more information.