173271 California Oral Health Education and Training Program: Knowledge and Behavior Change Among Parents Served at WIC and Head Start Programs

Monday, October 27, 2008

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
Listening to and learning from parents is an important aspect of providing services that can result in increased access and use of oral health services. First Smiles was a 4-year, $7 million oral health education and training initiative funded by First 5 California and implemented in 2004-2008 by California Dental Association and Dental Health Foundation. The program recognized the link between a child's oral health and their overall health—and the critical gap in access faced by many low-income families based in part on provider and parent knowledge, attitudes, barriers and behaviors. In addition to training 15,000 dental and primary care providers to serve children ages 0-5, including those with special needs, the initiative trained Head Start and WIC staff (primarily through train-the-trainer model) to deliver a consumer curriculum with 6 key messages. Data were collected from parent focus groups and staff and parent posttests/surveys (English and Spanish) uniquely developed for this program. The evaluation dataset includes 1,318 parents with half completing a 6-month follow-up survey. The sample is reflective of the demographics of families who access WIC and Head Start. Outcomes, which will be discussed in detail, include knowledge gain and retention; parental values about oral health; pre- and post-program utilization of dental services; barriers to service use (e.g., lack of knowledge about recommended age for first visit, misunderstanding about fluoride toothpaste); and adoption of positive behaviors at home after parent education. Additional findings and recommendations for community organizations and providers will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
After attending the session, participants will: 1. Be able to identify the most common reasons why parents of children ages 0-5 did not take their child to a dental provider in the last year. 2. Be able to identify at least 3 core messages that comprise a quality oral health curriculum for children ages 0-5. 3. Understand the factors that community organization staff must take into account in making successful referrals for oral health services for young children. 4. Understand the barriers most-commonly reported by WIC and Head Start staff for implementing an oral health component into their programs.

Keywords: Oral Health, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator/evaluation contractor for the 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.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session IV
See more of: Oral Health