198516 Child health providers' role in meeting unmet oral health needs of children with special health care needs: The BLOCK oral disease toolkit implementation and evaluation

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lynn A. Bethel, RDH, BSDH, MPH , Office of Oral Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Nicole K. Laws, RDH, MS , Office of Oral Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Background: Oral diseases are preventable, yet they continue to disproportionately affect high-risk children. The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) 2005-2006 revealed that preventive dental care was the number one unmet healthcare need for this population. Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics supports oral health integration, there is a lack of educational information available to medical professionals on this topic. Consequently, most child health providers aren't addressing preventive oral health regularly in high-risk populations.

Methods: A Toolkit and oral health training was developed for child health providers and other health care professionals. It was developed and pilot tested with medical and dental professionals, in addition to parents of CSHCN. At each training site, pretests and posttests were administered to measure the target audience's change in knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy to implement oral health assessments and fluoride varnish application in the medical setting.

Results: Child health providers had an increase in knowledge and positive attitudes about children's oral health. They also indicated a higher self-efficacy to integrate oral anticipatory guidance and prevention interventions into medical practice, which will increase CSHCN access to preventive dental care.

Conclusions: Child health providers must be involved in the effort to meet the unmet oral health needs of CSHCN. The combination of educational materials and hands-on training can successfully increase medical providers' knowledge and positive attitudes about oral health, which was determined to enhance the acceptance and likelihood of preventive oral health integration in the medical setting.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the unmet oral health needs of Children With Special Health Care Needs 2. Explain the Child Health Provider's role in preventing oral disease in Children With Special Health Care Needs 3. Explain a comprehensive Toolkit and program designed to educate child health providers on this role and motivate them to engage in preventive oral health practices within the medical scope of practice

Keywords: Underserved Populations, Oral Health Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Lynn Bethel, RDH, MPH, is the director of oral health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A dental hygienist for more than 25 years, Ms. Bethel is experienced in developing, implementing and evaluating school-based oral health prevention programs, as well as integrating oral health into the school curriculum. A past-president of the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists’ Association, Ms. Bethel is on the faculty of Mount Ida College, and serves in leadership positions for national organizations including the American Public Health Association and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors. Ms.Bethel has experience as a national and international speaker on oral health prevention programs.
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.