Kent County Oral Health Coalition (KCOHC)

About The Coalition:

Established in 2011, The Kent County Oral Health Coalition is a growing and collaborative partnership of people and organizations who believe that change is needed to improve the oral health of Kent County residents, particularly those who have limited access to care.

Why We Exist:

Kent County is considered to be a premiere place to live and raise a family. A spirit of innovation abounds—and we are not a community to wait on the bureaucracies of state government to solve pressing local issues. The coalition is a growing body of people, agencies and funders—collectively inspired to make a change.

Who Is Involved:

The Coalition was convened by First Steps, a Kent County nonprofit organization working to strengthen and coordinate services that improve the health and school readiness of young children in Kent County. In addition to numerous other local professionals, dental health and primary care clinicians, managed care organizations, hospitals, nonprofits and businesses,the list of community partners continues to grow.

The coalition has established two goals for the Kent County community:

  1. Ensure access to high quality, affordable oral health care.
  2. Increase basic but critical oral health literacy and knowledge.

2014/15 Actions:

  • Formed five task forces to drive the three-year community plan
  • A pediatric dentist presented on oral health in the primary care setting at Grand Rounds at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
  • Senior Oral Health Education class was developed and taught by volunteers from KCOHC to educate seniors in living communities about oral health
  • "Healthy Teeth, Healthy You" campaign was drafted and a marketing video was produced
  • Continuted to advocate for a proposed Pediatric Dental Residency Program in West Michigan
  • Facilitated BRUSH! curriculum training and provided home visiting providers with flip books and parent materials 

2013/14 Actions:

  • Release the Kent County Oral Health Exam (A comprehensive needs assessment)
  • Advocate and educate for changes in policy, funding and behavior
  • Galvanize the community with a three-year-plan
  • Facilitate community focus groups to determine positive oral health education messages
  • Collaborate with our local PBS station affiliates to deliver oral health education through the BRUSH! 
  • Curriculum training to early childhood providers
  • Host a reception with new incoming pediatric dentists

Getting Involved:

As members of the coalition, we recognize that sustainable change is a long-term process requiring true collaboration between the private and public sector. Our intent is to continue growing the collaborative with the people and agencies inspired to make grassroots change.

Join us!

We invite you to join our work by contacting Shannon Kaza, Oral Health Coordinator at Health Net of West Michigan. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (616) 632-1008.