197398 BEST Oral Health (Bringing Early Education, Screening and Treatment)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Joan M. Lowbridge, RDH, BS , BEST Oral Health, Partners For A Healthier Community, Inc., Springfield, MA
Partners for a Healthier Community, Springfield, MA, working in collaboration with twenty different organizations and community leaders envisioned the development of a community-wide oral disease prevention program targeting at risk preschoolers and their families facing system- wide barriers to accessing dental care. BEST recognizes that Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programs are critical entry points for preventive dental measures and utilizes multilevel strategies involving education, screening, and treatment services at ECCE facilities to combat dental disease. Utilization of portable dentistry places prevention and treatment interventions in convenient and accessible ECCE settings, addressing many of the family's personal and situational barriers to care. Four critical factors are necessary for successful program implementation:

•Collaborative efforts of many individuals and organizations

•Involvement of representatives of state, dental and public health services

•Training of non-dental providers, allied with dentists and oral health specialists

•Adequate resources including government and private grants and contributed time

To date BEST has reached 46 organizations, 170 sites, trained 745 staff, and provides screening and comprehensive dental prevention and treatment services to approximately 4000 children.

The model is being adapted to address other delivery system issues such as reaching small scattered sites; engaging family-based care providers; public school-based programs; parent engagement; and outreach to primary care physicians for inclusion of oral health education, preventive strategies, and dental referral within their practices to foster good oral health for general well-being.

Extensive data-driven evaluation (quantitative and qualitative) verifies that the BEST Oral Health model works.

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate how to build and implement a community based oral health program incorporating education, oral screening, and dental services within the preschool setting.

Keywords: Oral Health, Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been employed by Partners For A Healthier Community for 3 years expanding the BEST program from the pilot phase to the present model providing professional development for preschool staff and providers, acting as liaison to BEST Oral Health sites in curriculum development, distribution of tool box supplies, coordinating on-site dental services, Quality of Life evaluation, and advocatig for policy change. In addition I participated in a panel presentation of BEST Oral Health at the 2008 National Oral Health Conference, and a Poster presentation at the 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics Conference.
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.