DURHAM, N.H. – The New Hampshire Leadership Series recently received an $8,500 grant from Northeast Delta Dental Foundation in support of the Advanced Leadership Series: Oral Healthcare for People with Disabilities Initiative.

The Advanced Leadership Series will use the funding to educate graduates and dentists about best practices for maintaining oral health for individuals with disabilities and increasing access to care. In addition, the program is particularly excited to be able to continue developing their new training video titled Sensitive Smiles, a project that began during the 2019/2020 grant period but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This video, made in collaboration with the 2019/2020 Oral Healthcare Action Group, will be professionally edited, captioned, and disseminated to dentists and dental professionals, individuals with disabilities and their family members, and community members. The Oral Healthcare Action Group consists of a program participant who experiences developmental disabilities and a local dentist.

The Northeast Delta Dental Foundation’s support of the New Hampshire Leadership Series over the past three years has been instrumental in infusing oral healthcare best practices for people with disabilities into the program’s curriculum and advocating for critically-needed access to oral healthcare for adults with disabilities.

“Far too many individuals with disabilities do not have access to high-quality oral healthcare negatively influencing education, employment, and overall health outcomes,” says Mary Schuh, Ph.D., Principal Investigator for the NH Leadership Series. “We are so thankful for the partnership between Delta Dental and the NH Leadership Series, which is aimed at changing public policy and oral health care practices to ensure everyone has a healthy smile.”

The NH Leadership Series is an intensive, eight-month program that provides leadership and advocacy training for individuals with disabilities and their family members. Since 1988, the program has been a pivotal change experience for family members and adults with disabilities by providing state-of-the-art information and strategies to effect change on disability-related issues locally and across the state. As a result of the work of thousands alumni, NH has achieved national recognition for its innovative approaches to supporting people with disabilities and their families in their communities. Alumni of the program have passed state legislation, founded advocacy organizations, and serve at all levels of New Hampshire local, state, and national government. For more information, visit www.nhleadership.org.