176209 Evaluation of the Smiles across Greater Missouri 2006-07: Oral Health Education

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moncy Mathew, DDS, MPH , School of Dentistry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Michael McCunniff, DDS, MS , School of Dentistry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Barry Daneman, MA , School of Dentistry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Pamela Overman, EdD , School of Dentistry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
Cynthia P. Hayes, MHR, MHA , Missouri Foundation for Health, Saint Louis, MO
Matthew Kuhlenbeck, MHA , Missouri Foundation for Health, Saint Louis, MO
Charles Gasper, MS(R) , Missouri Foundation for Health, Saint Louis, MO
Craig Biehle , Missouri Foundation for Health, Saint Louis, MO
Objective: To create an evaluation structure for grantees implementing oral health education programs as part of the Smiles across Greater Missouri program, funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH).

Methods: The program charged grantees to target underserved populations, focusing on children in 3rd and 6th grade, providing dental screenings, education, referrals if needed, and sealants. The evaluation structure used qualitative instruments (open-ended questionnaires, interviews of key stakeholders) and quantitative instruments (minimum data sets, interim reports). Changes in knowledge were assessed using pre-post questionnaires.

Results: There were a total of six grantees, comprised of two County Health Departments, three Community Health Centers, and one Health Agency. A total of 7,027 children participated in the oral health education efforts; the total number of participating adults was difficult to ascertain. The focus of education included dental sealants, brushing techniques, oral hygiene, need for regular preventive care, and reducing soda and sugar consumption.

Discussion: The challenges to evaluation included assessing quality of message delivery and short-term and long-term outcomes. Behavioral change as a result of dental health message was not directly measured. The cost of evaluating the structure, process and outcome of public health education efforts would require a budget greater than the programs themselves. The challenges are compounded as dental caries is multi-factorial in etiology.

Conclusions: There are numerous challenges to measuring outcomes when promoting health education where the relatively slow disease process requires long-term monitoring. New methods need to be explored to monitor oral health education programs.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the need for public health oral health education programs. 2. Discuss the challenges in designing evaluation protocols for oral health education programs. 3. Identify the different components of dental public health education programs.

Keywords: Community Education, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Director of the evaluation project from which data was procured to create this abstract.
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