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Minority Health and Health Equity

The mission of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity is to identify health inequities and their root causes and promote equitable opportunities to be healthy


National Minority Health Month 2014: Virginia Community Success Stories

"Simple Strategies" Help Improve Pediatric Oral Health Issues
among Minority Populations in Virginia


Dr. Helen RagazziSeveral years ago, Dr. Helen Ragazzi became struck by how many of her young patients were waiting to have their cavities treated in the operating room. The dental issues seemed to disproportionately affect Hispanic children as well. At the same time, news broke that a child in Maryland had died from a tooth infection that spread to his brain. Dr. Ragazzi, an experienced chronic disease physician, decided there had to be clinical, preventive techniques she could apply within her practice to reduce dental disease, which is the most common chronic disease among Virginia's children. What she discovered was surprisingly easy. "I found out there was something really simple that could be done to prevent these complications," she said. "That's what got me interested in oral health."


"Oral health is actually something you can tackle with fairly simple strategies, like fluoride varnish application, referrals to a dentist, risk assessments and telling people to brush their teeth," said Dr. Ragazzi. After integrating these oral health services into her clinical practice, she saw a notable decrease in pre-operative visits for dental issues. "A lot of the strategies have been effective," she explained. Motivated by these results, Dr. Ragazzi worked with the Virginia Oral Health Coalition to speak with other pediatric practices about oral health services that can be provided in the clinical setting, prompting many pediatric providers to begin using fluoride varnish on their young patients.


Integrating preventive oral health services in clinical practices is a simple way to improve oral health for all children. For more information, contact Katherine Libby with the Virginia Oral Health Coalition at 804.269.8723 or, or visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website at


Giles County Impacts Health Equity through Health Transportation Program


Giles County Rural Equity in Access to Community Health (G-REACH) is a non-emergency health transportation program providing affordable transportation to low-income residents of Giles County. The program is a product of strategic planning which identified medical transportation as the number one barrier to health care access in Giles County. G-REACH is operated by the Giles Community Health Center and the Giles Health & Family Center and funded through a federal grant. For more information, visit:


Is your organization involved in an effort to advance health equity for Virginia’s minority populations? Send us your story in celebration of National Minority Health Month to Sarahbeth Jones, Communications Specialist, at



The work that this office is engaged in provides some specific examples of how organizations can promote health equity. As our framework for action demonstrates, our mission and vision guide our programmatic work. At the core of this work are data analysis and research that seek to define the distribution of health, disease, and social determinants of health. It also serves to identify local high priority target areas. Our programmatic areas focus on health care, policies that promote health, and empowerment of disadvantaged communities. These priorities advance health equity by promoting access to quality health care, healthy public policy, and healthy and engaged communities. We hope that you too will join us in our efforts to advance health equity for all Virginians.

The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity



Last Updated: 04-17-2014

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