Online Program

Results of an Oral Health Promotion Program among Sikh South Asians in New York and New Jersey

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rucha Kavathe, PhD, Community Empowerment and Education Directorate, UNITED SIKHS, New York, NY
Hardayal Singh, United Sikhs, New York, NY
Jennifer Zanowiak, MA, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Laura Wyatt, MPH, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Mary E. Northridge, PhD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief, Epidemiology & Health Promotion, New York University College of Dentistry and APHA (Editor Emeritus, AJPH), New York, NY
Nadia Islam, PhD, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Background: Previous research has documented a bidirectional link between periodontal disease and diabetes, and many similar risk factors for oral disease and chronic health conditions. Still, there are limited studies on South Asian subgroups and few community-based, culturally-tailored interventions that promote oral health and improve access to oral health care for South Asian Americans.

Objective: To present results of a family-based oral health education program for Sikh Americans living in New York (NY) and New Jersey (NJ).

Methods:  In 2014, a culturally-tailored community educator oral health program was implemented in 4 Sikh gurdwaras (places of worship) across NY and NJ. Educational modules were developed with input from dental professionals, community advisory board members, and project staff. The program was evaluated through participant surveys and focus groups, as well as community educator feedback. 

Results:  Findings were consistent in that participants reported improved self-efficacy in engaging in healthy behaviors and asking questions of their dental hygienist/dentist, as well as improved oral health behaviors such as brushing and flossing over time. Unexpected results were that children, especially adolescents, were highly engaged with the program, but that new strategies were needed to connect with men. Results from two additional planned rounds in 2015 will be presented.

Conclusions:  Initial results found overall support for oral health promotion in the targeted NY and NJ Sikh communities, and areas in need of improvement. Planned enhancements include the use of new media to reach additional community members and promote positive change in this population.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the steps taken in the development and implementation of a community-specific and culturally-tailored oral health intervention. Discuss how program evaluation results, challenges, and lessons learned from a pilot study can inform the implementation of the next phase of the program

Keyword(s): Asian Americans, Community-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Project Manager in the Community Outreach Division at UNITED SIKHS, a community based, non-profit organization. I work on community focused chronic disease prevention and oral health promotion in the South Asian community.
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.

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