Online Program

Improving children's oral health by making it a community priority

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jennifer Messenger Heilbronner, BA, Metropolitan Group, Portland, OR
Sandra Leal, BA, MBA, Customer Innovations, Round Rock, TX
Wyatt Hornsby, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Denver, CO
Background/purpose: Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation seeks to eradicate cavities among children ages 0-3, focusing on families living in low socioeconomic conditions—a population disproportionately affected by dental disease. To do this, it is building public will for oral health among pregnant women and families, motivating behavior change. It also is building public will among community leaders and influencers, motivating them to prioritize oral health and support funding, access and policy. Methods: The Foundation conducted qualitative research to understand values, beliefs, behaviors, motivators and barriers affecting oral health among families, community leaders and civically engaged individuals. Guided by the results, it developed an initiative that includes a bilingual media campaign; a promotoras program that deploys trained community members to teach others about oral health behaviors (the promotoras program is a partnership with LiveWell Colorado, combining obesity-prevention education with oral health curriculum); and partnerships with the Colorado Children's Museum and others. It also includes an issue advocacy campaign to create more diverse support for oral health, softening the ground for future policy change. Results/outcomes: Early message testing shows that the campaign is effectively reaching its target audiences. The campaign is being piloted March-September 2013, with evaluation at key points throughout and final evaluation in October, in time to share results at the annual meeting. Conclusions/implications: The campaign development and evaluation results will be instructive for others working on health promotion and education interventions, and provide insight for other maternal and child health initiatives.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss message frames and strategies to motivate families to prioritize oral health care Analyze values-based messages and engagement strategies to establish oral health as a community priority Evaluate and apply results of a pilot campaign to inform future phases

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 13 years of experience in communications, particularly related to health care. I am director of a public will building campaign focused on children's oral health in Colorado--specifically, eradicating childhood caries in the state. The campaign is based on strong field research and now involves various facets of implementation, including mass and earned media, grassroots outreach and outreach to influencers and providers. We also have a strong evaluation component that I lead.
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.