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Janet Sevier Gilbreath Award 2002

Community Water Fluoridation, City of Leavenworth/Waterworks Board

2002 Winner
Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award

The work of a volunteer coalition of Leavenworth citizens to promote community water fluoridation for oral health is recognized in selecting the City of Leavenworth as the Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project of the Year for 2002. Members of the coalition worked tirelessly to explain the oral health benefits of water fluoridation, taking the issue to the City Council and even walking door-to-door to provide information to residents.

The result was the overwhelming endorsement of water fluoridation by Leavenworth voters in the November 2001 election. The measure had been rejected twice in the past in Leavenworth.

With grants totaling $233,500 from the Health Ministry Fund, an engineering plan was developed for adding optimal fluoridation to Leavenworth's water supply and the new system was implemented on September 4, 2002. The water system serves nearly 45,000 residents and 7,000 students in elementary, middle, and high schools. On-going operational costs for providing the fluoridated water will be minimal.

Community water fluoridation is recognized as one of the top ten public health achievements of the last century by the Centers for Disease Control. It is widely supported as the most effective, most efficient method of preventing tooth decay, an all too common oral disease that compromises the health of thousands of Kansans every day who cannot access treatment for a variety of reasons.

Selected from among more than 150 projects funded during 2002 by the Health Ministry Fund, this project demonstrates what can be accomplished through strong volunteer and community support combined with sound management and financial practices. The achievement of community water fluoridation in Leavenworth to support a lifetime of good oral health exemplifies the vision of the Christian health community that we honor in memory of the first Chairperson of the Health Ministry Fund, Janet Sevier Gilbreath.


Representing this project for the Water Department of the City of Leavenworth are Joanne Runyon, Waterworks Board Secretary; Dr. Paul Johnson, Waterworks Board Vice-Chairman; Dr. Rodney Rivard, retired dentist; Donald Murphy, Water Department Manager; and Greg Hill, Director of Fluoridation Development for the Kansas Dental Association.

Awarded May 14, 2003

Learn more about the Janet Sevier Gilbreath award