Meet a Member: Marty Milkovic
Marty Milkovic, Connecticut Dental Health Partnership Marty Milkovic

Why rural? 

Most people don't think of rural and Connecticut together. While our state is small, there are significant areas that are rural and they have all the associated challenges: fewer services, transportation issues, isolation, cows, etc. I live in a small town on the edge of Connecticut's 'Quiet Corner', the northeast portion of the state. Farming is still an important business and we have one of the largest farmers markets in New England which hosts up to 5,000 people on a peak summer Sunday. I grew up in another rural Connecticut town with a chicken farm for a neighbor and I lived in a very rural area of Ohio for five years. So you can say I've had plenty of exposure to rural. 

What does being a member of the RoundTable mean for you?

The RoundTable has been a good forum for rural health issues and rural oral health issues in particular.  I got involved originally with the old 'Rural Oral Health' conference almost ten years ago and have stayed involved ever since.  It has been important to meet other folks from across New England, hear about their work and see how oral health fits in the overall picture.

What does rural healthcare mean to you?

Of course, for me, oral health care in rural settings is important.  Our data shows that dental utilization for clients in HUSKY Health (Connecticut Medicaid/CHIP) is lowest in the rural areas of our state, even though the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute's analysis shows that physical access to dentists is very good throughout Connecticut.  Our hypothesis is that rural areas have unique problems that limit utilization: weaker social service networks, more isolation, and transportation issues.  There may even be cultural barriers, in our words, Yankee stubbornness. Our work is to figure out how we can overcome these obstacles.  It's a meaningful task.