I feel like shouting: I have been invited to speak at the Global Health & Innovation Conference (GHIC)!

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.

Kinder-Beta-Testers contributing to the Global Health & Innovation ConferenceWe 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.

Meanwhile, a Junior High School Leadership team launched an oral health awareness campaign in the Park City Community and Recycle Utah, based in Park City, helped usLeadership contribution to the Global Health & Innovation Conference green our design and practices.

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.

Let's Make Oral Hygiene as Accessible as Hand Hygiene to Stop Dental Diseases a Semi-Finalist at the Global Health & Innovation Conference

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3 thoughts on “Global Health & Innovation

  1. Wow!!! You should be shouting from the rooftops.
    Your program is so elegant and user friendly. I love the way you involved and empowered students.
    Let me know how it goes
    Anne

    1. The truth about this program Anne is that it’s the gift that keeps giving. It has been and continues to be a very fulfilling journey. Thank you so much for your kind words (and your permission to shout from the rooftops). I will keep you posted: listen for any shouting coming from New Haven, Connecticut on April 17.

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