February 2021 Newsletter
A Note from Our CEO

At last year’s Virginia Oral Health Summit, Dr. Rhea Boyd offered a keynote, “Pandemics, Policing and Protests: On Racism and Health” and walked attendees through the effects of systemic racism and health outcomes. In doing this she offered clear connections between police brutality and poor health outcomes that were both data-driven and startling. I come back to her words and her call to action often, particularly when I learn of new incidents of violence or am struggling with just how immense a task it is to address years and years of racial inequity. I’ve heard from many of you that her words continue to resonate and steer you as well. If you’d like to listen (or re-listen) to her presentation, you can access a recording by clicking the button below. It is absolutely worth your time. 
Celebrating Black History Month!

Have you ever had an X-ray, learned about the spread of viruses like HIV, or been treated for tuberculosis? Are you educating yourself about the COVID vaccine? Then you may know the impact of the cells of Henrietta Lacks, an African American Virginia-native who lived in Baltimore, MD when she received a diagnosis of cervical cancer in 1951 at the age of 31. She went to Johns Hopkins Hospital for treatment, where her cells were collected and cultured without her consent, and she died that same year. Doctors studying her cells discovered that rather than dying in the lab like other human cells, Ms. Lacks’s cells doubled every 20-24 hours. Unbeknownst to her or her five children, these cells, named “HeLa” cells, would propel scientific knowledge of viruses, radiation, the human genome, and the development of vaccines – including polio, HPV, and even COVID-19 vaccines.

Henrietta Lacks’s cells still exist today and continue to impact medicine, society, and public health. Systemic racism in the healthcare system allowed for her cells to be taken without her consent and for her family to remain in the dark about the incredible contributions she made to science. In 2021, as the HeLa cells remain a crucial link to health care improvements, join all of us at Catalyst as we acknowledge and honor her impact, educate others about her sacrifice in life and death, and do our part to create a
more equitable healthcare system.

  • February is also National Cancer Prevention Month. While Henrietta Lacks died from cervical cancer, her HeLa cells have paved the way for countless people across the globe to benefit from cancer research and more effective treatments.

Adult Dental Benefit in Medicaid Update

July 1, 2021 will be here before we know it! For the latest updates about the comprehensive adult dental benefit coming to Medicaid, check out a recorded webinar with Catalyst, DMAS, and DentaQuest from February 3. More resources for patients and providers are available on the Catalyst webpage, including downloadable flyers and the dental services covered in the upcoming benefit.

  • Providers: If you are already a Medicaid provider, you will automatically be a provider for the newly-eligible adults. If you are interested in becoming a Medicaid provider, simply visit the DentaQuest Enrollment webpage and click on VA Smiles For Children Application or call 866-853-0657.
  • Consumers: If your patient or client is already enrolled in Medicaid, go to the DentaQuest website to find a dental provider, call DentaQuest at 1.888.912.3456, or check out this interactive map managed by our friends at the Virginia Health Care Foundation. If anyone needs help enrolling, they can click here to see Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Dental Providers Can Administer COVID-19 Vaccine in Virginia

Through an emergency order signed by Gov. Northam, dental providers can administer the COVID -19 vaccine if they register and participate in appropriate training. This order expands the number of eligible providers who can administer the vaccine – and will help get more people vaccinated quickly. If you are interested Dentists can learn how to register and receive the appropriate training here; however, this will include you in a registry to be called upon as a vaccine administrator. In order to administer vaccines at your facility, you must register your site for approval using the Virginia Immunization Information System and also through the CDC. Many Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics are already approved to be vaccination sites. 

Additional Resources
Addressing Human Trafficking

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) released a health care resource manual called “Human Trafficking: Care and Response”, which outlines how to identify and respond to patients who may be in sex or labor trafficking situations. This helpful resource was informed by real-world experience of clinicians who have worked with patients exploited in human trafficking and was reviewed by a trafficking survivor. 
Funding School-Based Oral Health Programs in the Commonwealth

Eligible dental safety net clinics can apply to receive education, technical assistance, and funding to support expanding or creating a school-based oral health program. Clinics will also connect with school nurses in their area to implement the program.
Catalyst is thrilled to partner with Delta Dental Foundation of Virginia, Virginia Dept. of Health, and the Dept. of Education to provide this opportunity. Learn more and apply here! Applications are accepted through Friday, March 5th.
HPV Educational Resources

Join the next HPV Peer to Peer Provider Education webinar series, led by the Virginia HPV Immunization Taskforce (VHIT), on Wednesday, March 3, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm to hear Dr. Emily Bowen, DDS from Mountain Empire Community College, present about “Dental Collaboration and HPV”. HPV infection in the mouth can lead to oral cancers, and dental professionals play a key role in helping educate patients and identify risk factors. Space is limited, so register today
Applications are Open for the VA State Loan Repayment Program

The program, operated by the Virginia Department of Health-Office of Health Equity, provides a non-taxed incentive to qualified medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmaceutical (pharmacists) professionals in return for a minimum of two (2) years of service at an eligible practice site in one of the federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in a qualified field of practice in Virginia. Applications close March 31, 2021. Learn more and apply here.
Register for the FREE Special Needs Dentistry – You Can Do It! Trainings

In partnership with the VDH, Catalyst is excited to offer a free five-part webinar series for dentists and dental hygienists on special needs dentistry. The series provides the dental community with the tools and knowledge to treat patients with special health care needs and covers topics like treatment planning, the latest clinical information and recommendations, and trends in special care dentistry. Attendees can receive 10 CE credits for the series, learn more here and register today!