202089 Head Start for oral health: A self-sustaining model for bringing comprehensive dental services to underserved Head Start preschool children in urban DHPSA locations

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

Larry Vitale, RN, PHN, MPA , San Francisco Head Start, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Carolyn L. Brown, DDS , Department of Dentistry, Native American Health Center, San Francisco, CA
Meg Kinsey, MBAc, MPHc , Joint MBA/MPH Program, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Within San Francisco (CA) preschools, 33% of low-income children have been found to have untreated dental caries. This project targets the southeast portion of the city where the rate of untreated dental decay is even higher, and is designated a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area. Few dentists serve residents of these neighborhoods, and even fewer serve young children. These neighborhoods are largely comprised of low-income African-American, Latino, Asian and Indigenous families.

San Francisco Head Start and the Native American Health Center (NAHC) formed a partnership to bring a mobile dental clinic to the places where the children come every day, local Head Start centers. On-site NAHC services include: health education, dental examination, cleaning, x-ray, fluoride treatment, and if needed, restorative treatment including fillings. This mobile dental clinic, as an extension of the community-based clinic, serves as the dental home for children without an identified dental home. Head Start supports service delivery by providing operating space in each of its centers, identifying children needing care, making appointments and following up with parents.

Before the program was initiated parents were extensively surveyed to determine the need and level of interest in the proposed program. A planning grant was obtained through a Community Benefits program from a local medical center to cover the start up costs. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, NAHC is able to sustain the delivery of service via state-based funding such as Medi-Cal. Effectiveness of the program is measured by tracking the services received by the children.

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the barriers to dental care faced by low-income preschool children Identify opportunities to form partnerships with community-based clinics to bring dental services to Head Start Describe the key elements of a successful partnership Design a sustainable approach to bringing mobile dental services to a community

Keywords: Head Start, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the San Francisco Head Start Health Services Manager responsible for the planning and implementation of 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.