Oral Health Fits the Mission and Vision of Lions International
Dan Snobl, M.Ed., RPT
Dan Snobl was the Director of Physical Therapy at Southwest Minnesota State University for 37 years and has extensive leadership experience in the Lion’s organization.
I joined Lions in 1982 in my home town of Tracy, Minnesota in Southwest Minnesota. The Tracy Club is part of Multiple District MD5M which number 21,262 strong, organized into 641 Clubs in 12 Districts located in Minnesota, Manitoba, and Northwest Ontario.
I served as District Governor in the years 2008 to 2009. During my leadership, the Southwest Minnesota State University Lions Club in collaboration with District 5M3 Lions Clubs leadership developed a Transition Manual dedicated to students with disabilities who were ready to address their needs to access post-secondary education opportunities.In July of 2013, Cris Gilb, Executive Director of the Minnesota Oral Health Project, presented to our District 5M3 leadership about the crisis that oral health is causing in our young children. Since I’ve dedicated my career as a Physical Therapist working with young people at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, I was immediately interested and volunteered to work with Cris and the Minnesota Oral Health Project on behalf of the Lions of MD5M District 5M3. I have seen in real life situations that the access to dental care is a major problem in rural areas. From my work in Lions, I knew that this was something Lions could support and can work to make a difference for the children in our communities. As I’ve talked to fellow Lions members, I’ve heard many stories about how poor oral care and access to dentists affect children and adults in our community.
My first task was to learn more about the oral health crisis and as I learned I listed the issues as I saw them. Here is my list that I’ve shared widely:
- THE MOUTH IS PART OF THE BODY, TOO.
- Every child should have the opportunity to be safe and healthy.
- Don’t create something new, work within the current systems to deliver parenting skills. We have to start working with caregivers where we meet them.
- Engage direct caregiver with preventive education to internalize parenting skills.
- Encourage direct care giver to be empowered to ask about their child’s oral health care
while being seen by their dental and medical provider(s). During Minnesota Child (well/ill “baby checks”) and Teen Checkups (C&TC), ask medical staff to do oral health examinations and apply fluoride varnish 4 times a year following the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) periodicity schedule developed jointly by the Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Health.
- In 2005 CDC Declaration: “Water fluoridation one of the top 10 most cost effective Public Health measure of the 20th century.”
- 72% of the Dentists Practicing in Southwestern Minnesota are 55 years are older.
- Dental Reimbursement rates for all MHCP providers are the same and there is NO regional discrepancy. (Redwan Hamza, DHS – January 20, 2015)
- Dental reimbursement rates by Medicaid needs an open review by all stakeholders.
- The MNOHP primary focus is to increase access, increase awareness, develop and provide educational materials for all community stakeholders.
My efforts contributed to The Minnesota Oral Health Project (MNOHP) receiving a unanimous vote of support from the Lions of Multiple District 5M Council of Governors in Lions Years 2015 and 2016 as we collaboratively move forward the MNOHP Mission:
- To increase oral health knowledge and literacy across the full socioeconomic spectrum of the all counties in Greater Minnesota and to provide education to mothers-to-be during the latter part of the third trimester of pregnancy so they will know how to attend to their newborns mouth after the first feeding. It is essential that all caregivers and pregnant women know about caries etiology and their role in prevention.
- To increase access to preventive and restorative care by:
a) training all Primary Care Medical Providers (PCMP) in Minnesota how to offer Caries Prevention Services (CPS) as part of the well-child examination or at a visit for episodic (illness) care, and b) to focus on general dentists to agree that if the PCMP offer prevention services, they will accept referrals from PCMP for diagnostic care or restorative services since dentists are the only members in the community who can make dental diagnoses and drill and fill or pull a carious tooth.
- To educate members of Lions Clubs so they can be well informed to address the oral health and caries crisis affecting their community’s high-risk children through local community service projects.
- Lions in collaboration with other Community Service Organizations are the most knowledgeable about the needs of their communities. These Community Service Organizations can join forces to become vocal advocates for bringing their concerns forward to address the unmet dental needs of underserved children in Minnesota.
CARIES IS PREVENTABLE
My next task is to influence the Lions of Multiple District 5M to create a District Cabinet Oral Health Chairperson position to serve to serve as a liaison with the Minnesota Oral Health Project.
Lions Oral Health Cabinet Member Primary Responsibilities:
- Appointed by each District Governor.
- Become educated to be able to address the oral health and caries crisis affecting their communities high risk children especially for underserved children in Minnesota who are defined as those without a dental home, and are on public assistance.
- Work in collaboration with Lions Zone Chairs in reaching out to each Lions Club and their members in each Zone. A video developed by MNOHP will be used to educate local Lions Club Members to carry out service projects and becoming vocal advocates bringing their dental crisis concerns forward to address the unmet needs of underserved children in Minnesota.
- Assist 2018 District Mid-Winter Conventions Planning Committees in having an Oral Health Education Presentation at their individual conventions and 2018 Multiple District 5M Annual Convention.
- Encourage various Media/Communication venues
Newspapers/MD5M District Newsletter “Lions Roar”/ 12 District Newsletters
Schools – “Friday Folders” for taking information home and individual School Websites/Announcements
Electric Coop and Rural Water Publications
Conventions/Continuing Education/Support Groups
Using Senior Citizens as Trained Volunteers/Intergenerational
As Lions, we proudly serve our communities and the world in a multitude of ways. Our local communities’ needs are great and our services broad, including sight, health, youth, elderly, the environment and disaster relief.
As a Lion, a parent, a grandparent, and a concerned community member, I want to see children happy and healthy. I want to know that we’ve done all that we can to ensure that cavities do not affect a child’s future.
WE SERVE, Past District Governor Dan Snobl
Highlight of an accomplishment in oral health
October 1, 2017 changes to Minnesota’s Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) Schedule of Age-Related Screening Standards “will require fluoride varnish application beginning at the eruption of first tooth, every 3-6 months at the primary care clinic or dental office trough age 5 years.” The C&TC schedule changes are based on the updated 2017 version of Bright Futures from the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with changes in US Preventive Services Task Force pediatric recommendations, MN Community Measurements guidelines, and the most recent Minnesota-specific health data for the C&TC population. Credit also goes to the undaunted efforts of Dr. Amos Deinard and the Minnesota Oral Health Project staff.
Staff from Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Human Services are preparing updated clinical guidance for C&TC Fact Sheets for primary care providers and new parent (direct care providers) fact sheets for implementing these changes.
Dan is such a great guy! Thank you for all you are doing to help children.