173256 California Oral Health Education and Training Initiative: Increasing Dental and Medical Provider Willingness to See Kids Age 0-5 for Oral Health

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 12:30 PM

Barbara M. Aved, RN, PhD, MBA , BARBARA AVED ASSOCIATES, Sacramento, CA
Larry Meyers, PhD , Department of Psychology, Cailfornia State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Elita Burmas, MA , California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Too few dental professionals are comfortable seeing children age 0-5. Primary care providers play an important role but lack training in oral health. First Smiles was a 4-year, $7 million oral health education and training initiative funded by First 5 California, implemented in 2004-2008. The statewide program, co-administered by California Dental Association recognized the link between a child's oral health and overall health—and the critical gap in access based in part on provider knowledge, attitudes and practice behaviors. The objective was to increase the number of providers willing to provide quality oral health education and preventive services for ages 0-5, including children with special needs. Training strategies will be discussed and included various formats: conferences, in-office and web-based. Data were collected through interviews and posttests/surveys (immediate post-course and 6-month follow-up) uniquely developed for this program. Outcomes included 15,785 dental and primary care professionals trained; knowledge gain in many curricular areas; high course satisfaction; self-perceived skill level increase; 15% general DDSs seeing more children aged 0 to 5 six months later; increased dental-medical collaborations for pregnant patients; a general trend for DDSs (but not MDs) to lose information and skills learned from the course 6 months later. 29% of primary care providers perceived as a barrier colleagues' opinion that oral health is a DDS not MD responsibility. Exposure California and U.S. dental students get to the 0-5 age group, particularly for special needs, is still relatively small. Additional practice behaviors, systems and policy changes and recommendations will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
After attending the session, participants will be able to: 1. Understand the factors that influence dental and medical providers’ willingness to provide oral health for children ages 0-5. 2. Name at least 3 core curricula areas commonly-misunderstood by dental and medical providers concerning oral health for ages 0-5. 3. Be able to identify the strategies dental and primary care providers say would make a difference to their providing oral health for ages 0-5. 4. Be able to recognize the skillsets that should be included in a training curriculum on oral health for ages 0-5 for community-practicing general dentists and primary care providers. 5. Be aware of the extent to which dental schools address the youngest patients, including those with special needs, in their clinical and didactic education.

Keywords: Oral Health, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator/evaluator for this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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