I feel like shouting: I will be one of the speakers at the Global Health & Innovation Conference (GHIC). There is more and I can barely contain myself: I am one of the semi-finalists for the GHIC Prize!
The Global Health & Innovation Conference is the world’s leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference, with 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries. This thought-leading conference convenes leaders and change-makers from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.
The Global Health & Innovation Conference highlights the work of innovators who are using data, outcomes, and input from local communities to make positive change. The featured speakers present programs that are proven effective with outcomes. The Social Enterprise Pitch presenters discuss programs that are in development. Though these pitched programs do not yet have data, the presenters are required to demonstrate the evidence basis for their idea, as well as a concrete plan to measure outcomes.
I belong to the latter category with a program that doesn’t have data yet but is based on one of the strongest piece of oral health research: The National Supervised Tooth Brushing Program. The Big Idea is: Making Oral Hygiene as Accessible as Hand Hygiene to Stop Dental Diseases.
In January of 2015, informed by the Macpherson report on the National Supervised Tooth Brushing Program, I convened a meeting of non-traditional oral health stakeholders in Park City, Utah: a school principal, teachers, students, cafeteria personnel, a janitor, a school nurse and myself, to see how we could implement this Big Idea in Park City, starting in that Title 1 school.
We collectively decided to launch an after lunch supervised flossing and brushing program with Kindergartners. Our kinder-beta-testers contributed valuable input into the design as entrepreneurial high school students went into rapid prototyping of a new oral hygiene instrument that would make this process simple, quick and not messy. Surveys designed and run by a second entrepreneurial team also informed the design.
Thus we collectively created a new Oral Hygiene Pal that caused parents and children to hug me in the Super Market. No kidding…
TeethFirst’s mission is: Making Oral Hygiene as Accessible as Hand Hygiene. In order to achieve this mission , we had to make it possible. It was exciting to do this in collaboration with so many non traditional stakeholders in our community. One thing united us: the belief that oral health is a fundamental human right. From that common ground , we started building. It was, and still is, so refreshing and inspiring to work with all the people who contributed to TeethFirst’s success.
It has been an incredible journey this far and I am filled with gratitude for all who contributed to this prestigious semi-finalist position at the Global Health & Innovation Conference.