Individuals with mental health and substance use disorders tend to have poorer oral health than the general population, including greater and more severe dental caries and periodontal disease, but are less likely to have received dental care. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Oral Health Unit has developed an integrated Clinical Quality Improvement model for a bidirectional training and referral process between behavioral health and dental clinical sites. Join us to learn more about the connections between oral health and behavioral health, and how an integration model can be applied to both clinical settings in safety net systems.
• Objective 1: Explain connections between behavioral health and oral health, especially in vulnerable populations.
• Objective 2: Understand a behavioral health and oral health integration model as applied in a Colorado safety net system.
• Objective 3: Bring tools and information back to their systems of care to support behavioral health and oral health integration efforts.
Ashleigh Kirk (pronouns: she/her/hers) is the Perinatal and Youth Oral Health Manager for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She works on evidence-based interventions focused on prevention of oral disease for children, and leads the Cavity Free at Three program and School-based Oral Health program. Ashleigh is a social worker and brings her experience as an infant and early childhood mental health specialist to her role at CDPHE, and works on projects that support the integration of oral-behavioral-physical health in clinical and community settings. Ashleigh’s interest in early childhood systems began in her Masters in Social Work program at Washington University in St. Louis, and continued in Chicago where she received a Certificate in Infant Mental Health from Erikson Institute. Ashleigh moved from Chicago to Colorado in 2011, where she now enjoys many outdoor adventures with her son and goldendoodle.