With a mission to promote health, prevent disease and protect residents through partnerships and population-based services, the Clark County Health Department (CCHD), began providing dental preventive services in 2010 in local schools through Wisconsin Seal-A-Smile (SAS) funding. This work started in two schools, and driven by local needs, has grown over the years to serve nearly all of the local public and parochial schools. During the 2022-23 school year, Clark County Seal-A-Smile served approximately 1,000 students and 454 children received sealants (an evidence based method to prevent tooth decay).

Brittany Mews, BSN, RN serving as the CCHD Health Officer/Director, has long been dedicated to enhancing the overall health of her community. By collaborating with various initiatives of Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (the Alliance), such as the injury prevention and child death review initiative, and the oral health initiative, she has worked towards improving health outcomes in Clark County. Recognizing this commitment to local health, Mews was invited to join the Alliance’s Advisory Board by the Alliance’s Executive Director, Matt Crespin, MPH, RDH. Embracing this opportunity, Mews strives to provide the board with rural, west/central Wisconsin perspective on public health needs as a strong advocate for her community.

Clark County SAS initiates health and resource fairs for community
As the Clark County SAS program expanded over the past decade, the CCHD identified numerous social and dental needs within their local communities that extended beyond the walls of local schools. Corrine Spencer, BSN, RN, CLC, current Clark County SAS Program Coordinator, advocated with Mews for additional oral health services in the community. In acknowledgment of this, the CCHD initiated community-based health and resource fairs in partnership with numerous community partners from Clark County, Marathon County, and Taylor County. These fairs are held at a local church, which also houses a food pantry, resulting in not only food being offered, but also various public health services.

The CCHD has observed families traveling long distances for dental care, seeking a provider who accepts state insurance, amid challenges such as language barriers and varying levels of literacy. To address these challenges, the CCHD engages their dental hygienists to conduct dental screenings, apply fluoride varnish, provide oral health education and supply families with dental home care supplies as part of the local resource fairs. With the financial help of Aspirus-Stanley, the CCHD plans to introduce cleanings as part of the offered oral health services in June of 2024.

Learn more
To learn more about the Clark County SAS program, and other ways they are partnering to improve the health of the local community, visit their website.

Written by:
Jenna Linden, BSDH, RDH, CDHC
Program Leader, Oral Health