The panel, left to right: Moderator, Shyrea Thompson, senior director of strategic initiatives, Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Dr. Kisha Davis, family physician, medical director, Casey Health Institute; Dr. Kimberley Perkins-Davis, chair, oral and maxillofacial surgery and graduate programs, Meharry School of Dentistry; Prentice Stovall Jr., global brand leader, insulin franchise, Eli Lilly and Company; Dr. Jean Bohomme, founder, National Black Men’s Health Network and member, Board of Directors.

NASHVILLE, TN — At the 2018 National Minority Quality Forum Leadership Summit on Health Disparities and Spring Health Braintrust, Kimberley Perkins-Davis, D.D.S. ’95, told attendees that access to preventative oral health care for aging populations is key to enhancing their lives and relieving health disparities.

Dr. Kimberley Perkins-Davis

The theme of the summit, which took place on April 16-17, 2018 in Washington, was bridging the equity gap across the lifespan to achieve sustainable, healthy communities. Dr. Perkins-Davis represented Meharry Medical College as a member of a panel focused on cultivating positive health outcomes in mature adults.

The panel, “For Grown Folk: A Discussion on the Health of Mature Adults,” discussed managing chronic conditions, expanding access to affordable care and enhancing the lives of mature adults. “As a population, we are living longer, healthier lives,” Dr. Perkins-Davis said, affirming the importance of continuing to cultivate positive health outcomes for underserved minority populations. 

Dr. Perkins-Davis told the audience that while patients may receive regular check-ups, their oral health may be overlooked or an afterthought. “Access to care and resources may also impact the ability for many of our seasoned adults to receive the necessary preventative treatment and care required to keep their oral health optimum,” she said.

The Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust is the authority on African-American and minority health disparities on Capitol Hill. The group is tasked with creating legislative and policy solutions to reduce health disparities and promote positive health outcomes in multicultural communities through a three-fold agenda: strengthening our communities, improving health care access and achieving health equity in a generation. 

According to their website, the CBC’s agenda for the current 115th Congress has included engagement, equity and economic empowerment, including “access to affordable, quality health care and retaining investments in minority health clinics to combat health disparities…”

Dr. Perkins-Davis said her experience on the panel was fulfilling. “It was a most wonderful and enlightening day of presentations both from a listening and participatory standpoint,” she said.