142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Advancing community water fluoridation: Lessons learned from grassroots campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Jodie Silverman, MPA , Special Projects, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Catherine Hayes, D.M.D., Dr.Med.Sc. , Health Resources in Action
Aleya Martin, MPH , Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Tamaki West, MA , Health Communication, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
Beth Kane Kopp, MS , Upper Valley Oral Health Coalition
Maria Mendes, MS
Craig Stevens, MPH
This session will present the findings (evaluated and documented) and best practices identified in two grassroots efforts to implement community water fluoridation (CWF). A three year effort that involves community mobilization, and social marketing--novel approaches to advancing oral health--will come to a juncture in December 2014. Health Resources in Action (HRiA) will discuss and report on successes in CWF implementation, challenges, setbacks and lessons learned in the areas of community-based participatory research; community organizing; coaliton building; stakeholder engagement; values-based message development; and, policy maker support.

The science is on the side of community water fluoridation, being declared one of the top 10 public health successes of the century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and supported by every major public health, dental and medical organization. However, new CWF efforts have been successfully thwarted and attempts to roll back currently fluoridated communities on the rise by a small but very vocal minority that relies on fear-based appeals, half-truths and junk science. This new approach recognizes the influential role fluoride opponents have begun to play and seeks to integrate evidence-based, scientific practice with community values, grass roots engagement, and person-to-person/word-of-mouth advocacy.

The campaigns are being conducted in two very different communities with the assistance of local coalitions and a local organizer: a small, rural and homogeneous community in Vermont and a larger, ethnically diverse urban area in Massachusetts, and thus will offer rich insight and research findings into how best to implement CWF moving forward in a variety of settings.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of using an integrated approach to water fluoridation that includes community organizing and social marketing. Identify lessons learned and best practices for conducting a grassroots fluoridation campaign. Design a community-driven water fluoridation campaign based upon evaluated and documented strategies.

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Social Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered