May 2011

#7 May 2011

Brought to you by: The Florida Office on Disability & Health

“Accessibility for All”

Florida Office on Disability & Health

The Florida Office on Disability and Health (FODH) was created in 2007 through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The mission of FODH is to maximize the health, well-being, participation, & quality of life, throughout the lifespan of all Floridians & their families living with disability.


Oral Healthcare for Persons with Disabilities

This freely available course created by Paul Burtner, DMD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Florida, provides an introduction to disability for dental professionals. Terminology, strategies for working with individuals with disabilities, and details about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are included. Visit

FCIC Oral Health for PWDD Brochure

The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities has developed health and wellness brochures to provide individuals with developmental disabilities with important information about living a healthy life. English version | Spanish version

Cost as a barrier to dental care among people with disabilities: a report from the Florida behavioral risk factor surveillance system

This report analyses data from the 2007 Florida BRFSS and addresses barriers to dental care for persons with disabilities in Florida. This report was co-authored by both Dr. Burtner and one of our FODH staff members and can be found here:

Access to Oral Health Care for Florida’s Citizens with Developmental Disabilities

In 2002, the UF College of Dentistry partnered with the DD Council of Florida and the Nova School of Dental Medicine to produce this white paper on the barriers to access of oral healthcare for persons with disabilities as well as recommendation and actions steps for the future. This paper was directed, in part, by Dr. Paul Burtner and can be found here:

Partner Highlight: Dr. Paul Burtner: UF College of Dentistry

Since 1987, the University of Florida College of Dentistry has had a contract with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to provide dental care to the residents of Tacachale and the Seguin Unit. Both facilities, located in Gainesville, are long term care facilities for people who have developmental disabilities.

During the 80’s and 90’s the federal government’s policy was to close these large institutions and move the residents into more family-like community-based residential settings such as Group Homes. Many large state-operated institutions were closed during this era. In1987, there were 4 remaining large institutions; two of Florida’s institutions had already closed.

For a variety of reasons, some former residents of Tacachale had to return to the institutional setting. In these cases, we found that their oral health had deteriorated. As a result, we became aware that most individuals, who were moved out of Tacachale into community residential settings, were unable to access comprehensive dental care. Through our interactions with many dentists practicing in similar institutions throughout the country, we learned that access to oral health care for developmentally disabled persons outside of the institutional setting was a national problem.

To improve access to dental care locally, we initiated the first community dental outreach program in Florida at the Tacachale dental clinic in 1994. We began to provide dental care to people with developmental disabilities who resided in local communities on a space-available basis.

Several years ago a former Tacachale Superintendent, Mr. Don Thomas, recognized the value of our community outreach program. He obtained a significant grant from the Florida legislature which allowed us to significantly expand our program.

With the support of Dr. Teresa Dolan, Dean of the College of Dentistry, our outreach clinic is currently operating 3 nights per week and every other Saturday. We have provided care to hundreds of people from across the state. In addition to routine dental care, we also provide treatment under general anesthesia.

The state is considering replicating our program by operating similar dental care programs at other residential facilities in the state, modeling them after our program at Tacachale.

Dr. Paul Burtner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Florida. For more information contact:

To contact the Tacachale Community Dental Outreach Program please call: 352-955-5665

Please visit our website at for Florida data, links to national resources about disability and health, and more!

For questions on this Bulletin contact

Visit us on Facebook!