Increasing Access through School-Based Oral Health

Presentation - Molly Imming
Presentation - Dr. Garland

Presentation - Kim Farrell
Presentation - Dr. Wallin
Presentation - Dr. Tegerdine

Moderator Molly Imming, MSW, MPH

Presented by Dr. Courtney Garland, Kim Farrell, Dr. Robin Wallin, and Dr. Molly Tegerdine

School-based oral health programs increase access to oral health care for children and youth by reducing barriers such as transportation and parents’ ability to take off work.  By providing education, prevention, and even restorative care in a school setting, school-based oral health programs are especially important for reaching children from low-income families who are less likely to receive private dental care.  Increasing access to care via school-based oral health programs thus reduces disparities in oral health outcomes as well as improves health equity for vulnerable populations.  The success of school-based oral health programs is dependent upon strong partnerships between multiple stakeholders, funding from key local, state, and federal entities, and policies that support the delivery of oral health care in non-traditional settings. 

This panel will feature advocates from across Missouri—including a school nurse leader, local health department program manager, and a school-based oral health provider—to offer insight into school-based oral health programs in our state, share challenges and successes for implementing them, and discuss the impact of legislation and policy on increasing access to oral health through school-based programs.


Molly Imming, MSW, MPH is the Training and Technical Assistance Manager with the Show-Me School-Based Health, and supports school districts and health care providers in planning and implementing quality school-based health programs in Missouri. In this capacity, she develops trainings and networking opportunities to share best practices, delivers technical assistance to increase capacity for and knowledge of quality programs, and supports the Alliance’s advocacy, marketing, and communication efforts.  Prior to this role, Molly has worked to improve health equity through a variety of roles in managed care, academic research, and community-based organizations, including supporting evaluation and programming efforts at The SPOT School-Based Health Center at Jennings High School and developing population health programs for Medicaid beneficiaries at Centene.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from St. Louis University and a dual Masters in Public Health/Masters in Social Work from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Molly remains active with FOCUS St. Louis upon completing their Emerging Leaders Program in Spring 2019 and serves on the Program Committee of the Board of Directors of Camp Ondessonk.


Courtney Garland, DMD is passionate about providing care to underserved areas, stemming from being raised in rural East Tennessee near the Appalachian Mountains. Later living in this area, she was exposed to difficulties residents faced finding affordable dental care. She gained experience working with children in her mother’s preschool classes and still returns annually to educate preschoolers about oral health and hygiene techniques. Throughout dental school Garland continued to work extensively in underserved areas, with three external clinical rotations located in similar areas. Since joining COMTREA in 2014, she worked in both community health centers and school-based dental clinics. She participated in the State of Missouri's preventive screening program and mobile outreach events in the county’s schools. In April 2018, Dr. Garland moved into the Director of Oral Health role providing leadership for the mobile and clinic programs.


Kim Farrell is the Dental Coordinator at Lincoln County Health Department, where she manages all aspects of the agency’s on-site and community-based dental services.  She began her work in public health ten years ago, providing support to multiple programs before transitioning to management of the dental clinic in 2014.  Through her interaction with dental clients, she found a passion for advocating for improved access to oral health care within her local community, as well as throughout the state.  Her focus as manager of the dental clinic has been working to expand the availability of school based dental services within the county, as well as expanding  overall clinic services and assuring availability of dental care for all Lincoln County residents.  Ms. Farrell is committed to helping to spread the word about Teledentistry, in the hopes of bringing this concept into more rural areas with limited access to dental professionals.  


Robin Wallin is Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Nationally Certified School Nurse with 35 years of nursing experience, including 22 years in school health services as a school nurse and district school health administrator. She earned Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees from the Yale University School of Nursing and currently serves as the Director of Health Services for Parkway Schools in St. Louis County, Missouri. Dr. Wallin is passionate about supporting school nurses and encouraging evidenced-based practice strategies to address the health needs of students.


Dr. Molly Tegerdine graduated from UMKC school of Dentistry in 2013 and then completed her AEGD residency at UMKC. She has been working at CHCCMO as a General dentist since July 2017 and took on the role of Dental Director in April 2019. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Tegerdine oversees the day-to-day operations of the dental clinics at their 4 locations – Jefferson City, Fulton, Linn and California, as well as their portable dental program that visits schools within the four counties they serve.