American Society on Aging 2016 Aging in America Conference

2 min
March 23, 2016

An Innovative Approach to Geriatric Oral Healthcare

Wednesday, March 23, 2016: 12:30 PM – 02:00 PM

Room: Omni Shoreham Hotel – Congressional AM


Oral health is an important and integral component of overall good health that is often overlooked, particularly when it comes to an older adult’s general health.   It can be especially difficult for low-income seniors to access the oral healthcare system. Learn about an innovative geriatric dental clinic designed to address this critical need.


1. Articulate the impact of poor oral health on overall health and the resulting financial burden on the healthcare system.

2. Understand how a unique model of providing oral health services within a thriving senior center will ensure that clients receive integrated, patient centered, geriatric focused care.

3. Define the policy and practice barriers that contribute to poor oral health in older adults and why there is a need for policy change and advocacy for improved coverage and access to comprehensive, quality oral health services for low income older adults.


Dental disease is a serious health problem, particularly in populations that have poor access to care such as economically disadvantaged seniors. These unmet needs place a financial burden on the healthcare system as progressive dental disease can lead to costly hospital stays and emergency room visits. As dental disease has been recognized as a persistent but silent epidemic, and vulnerable populations such as low income seniors are at highest risk, the Dental Center will demonstrate that effective interventions involving prevention, timely diagnostics and disease management can greatly improve many aspects of the lives of underserved seniors. At the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center, a study team will focus on examining the impact of a model of integrated oral health services to demonstrate that this innovative design lowers healthcare costs, provides high quality services, and positively impacts health outcomes. Prelimary results will be shared with ASA audience.


Paul Downey, President & CEO, Serving Seniors

Shelley Lyford, President, Gary and Mary West Foundation

William Scanlon, PhD, Consultant, West Health Policy Center

Angela Stewart, JD, Senior Director, Government Affairs, West Health Policy Center

Target Audience