LOUISVILLE, Ky. – DentaQuest has selected David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health affairs (EVPHA), University of Louisville, as one of its 2015 Health Equity Heroes, recognizing his distinguished work in making oral health care accessible to underserved populations. The inaugural Oral Health Equity Hero Awards were given to only seven people nationwide, each hero making significant contributions toward removing barriers to oral health.
“Dunn is a health leader who is committed to providing critical care in the Louisville community and beyond,” said Steve Pollock, CEO of DentaQuest. “He is connecting historically underserved populations with this care by employing the skills and traits that continue to mark his career – innovation: strategic outreach and compassion for the people he serves every day. The people of Kentucky are lucky to have him as a health advocate and ally.”
Tooth decay affects 20 percent of Kentucky’s preschoolers, 50 percent of second-graders, and nearly 75 percent of 15 year olds — statistics that Pollock cites as being part of a national oral health crisis. More than 83 million people in the United States are facing barriers to dental care, barriers related to such factors as race, age, income level, language, health literacy, and geographic isolation.
A highly-recognized and respected transplant surgeon, Dunn has served as UofL’s EVPHA since 2011. He is an advocate for the importance of coupling dental coverage with medical coverage to promote enhanced overall health, noting that this “one-stop-shopping” approach helps eliminate barriers and connects more people with consistent preventive care. Under his leadership, UofL has made it a priority to establish medical-dental homes for children, ensuring access to health care is convenient and collaborative. Additionally, UofL medical and dental staff have partnered with the area’s public schools to advance health information and education programs.
“The University has a very robust community engagement initiative, particularly in Louisville’s West End, where there is unique opportunity to reach some of the most vulnerable populations in the state,” Dunn said. “Oral health is critical to overall health and our outreach programs emphasize that connection.”