Online Program

Community-academic partnership to address oral health and healthcare in meals-on-wheels recipients

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rachel Sherrow, LCSW, Citymeals-on-Wheels, New York, NY
Kavita P. Ahluwalia, DDS, MPH, College of Dental Medicine, Section of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Cary Reid, MD, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
Pathu Sriphanlop, MPH, College of Dental Medicine, Section of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Elaine Wethington, PhD, Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Background: Community-based senior services are designed to help community-dwelling older adults maintain independence and prevent institutionalization. Daily home meal delivery, also known as Meals-on-Wheels (MOW), is designed to provide food and nutrition for older adults unable to prepare meals due to cognitive/physical impairments. Although MOW has been in existence for almost 40 years, and serves one million Americans daily, there has been no systematic examination of this public health system's potential utility to deliver interventions which may prevent future institutionalization. A community-academic partnership was convened in NYC to address oral health among MOW recipients because almost 30% of NYC MOW recipients have difficulty eating due to problems with their teeth or mouth and oral health is central to food consumption and ensuring MOW delivers meals recipients can actually eat. Methods: The partnership, headed by Citymeals-on-Wheels, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and Weill-Cornell Medical College brought together MOW stakeholders and researchers to collaborate on capacity-building and future funding initiatives. Data from focus groups, key-informant interviews and survey research were used to develop appropriate interventions that can be integrated into MOW systems in order to promote sustainability and effectiveness. Results: NYC's Department for the Aging (DFTA) has included additional oral health items on system-wide screening and enrollment instruments, and funding has been secured for the delivery of toothbrushes/toothpaste to meal recipients. Key stakeholders (NY State DOH, DFTA, foundations and industry) have been engaged, and plans are underway to implement and test interventions to improve meal recipients' oral health and healthcare.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the processes involved in developing a community-academic partnership Discuss the processes involved in sustaining a community-academic partnership Describe the challenges involved in sustaining a community-academic partnership Identify the benefits of a community-academic partnership for both the community and academic partner

Keyword(s): Aging, Community Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as research assistant on two projects designed to address oral health and healthcare in older adults receiving Home Delivered Meals. In addition, I have a keen interest in community-based participatory research and am currently working as a ResearchCoordinator at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I received an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences with a concentration in Health Promotion.
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.