DTA Foundation grants

Nov. 14, 2011
Since 2002, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation has granted more than $780,000 to 40 major research projects designed to increase access to oral health care in America.

Since 2002, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation has granted more than $780,000 to 40 major research projects designed to increase access to oral health care in America. Here is a listing of the 2011 grant winners:

American Academy of Pediatrics - $25,000
Dental caries are the most common chronic disease of early childhood and many young children are not able to access a dentist for early preventive oral health care. To address this gap, the American Academy of Pediatrics has worked to educate pediatricians and other health professionals about the importance of oral health and how to incorporate oral health services (oral screening, anticipatory guidance, risk assessment, referral to a dental home and fluoride varnish) into their practices.

To this end, the AAP, with funding from the American Dental Association Foundation, has built a network of 53 trained Chapter Oral Health Advocates. A COHA is a pediatrician representing an AAP state chapter who has been trained in oral health and how to incorporate oral health services into the medical home. To accomplish this, they require support to ensure that they have the resources to provide high quality training and support. Through funding from the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation, the AAP will provide training grants and oral health kits to COHAs to support their efforts to train practices about oral health services.

The Children’s Dental Health Project - $25,000
The Children’s Dental Health Project was instrumental in crafting and ensuring the inclusion of 18 significant oral health provisions in recent passed health reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Among changes the ACA will bring is increased access to dental services as millions more children will receive dental coverage in the coming years--public and private coverage. State policymakers and regulators play a significant role in the implementation of these oral health improvements, including their integration with existing public programs; however, federal regulatory guidance is necessary in order for states to move forward.

More than a decade of experience by CDHP has provided the foundation for recognizing this opportunity and the need to work with Congress and state advocates to advance access to care that is possible through ACA but is in jeopardy due to federal and state budgets. DTAF funds will help CDHP in their efforts to educate regulators about the need to expand access to dental care and implement cost effective strategies to improve oral health.

Metropolitan State University - $25,000
Metropolitan State University has initiated a program to increase dental care in Minnesota by preparing Advanced Dental Therapists to provide community-based care for underserved populations. Based upon Minnesota statute 150A.01, individuals prepared for this scope of practice focus on treating and preventing dental disease in settings not reached by existing dental care teams, such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, schools and other settings.

To prepare ADTs for this role and provide clinical experience in diverse communities, Metropolitan State University is building an educational dental clinic that simultaneously prepares this new workforce and provides care to the diverse community. Metropolitan secured the necessary funds to build and equip the clinic. DTAF funds will be used to introduce the dental therapy role to the community, to build community awareness about the services available at this new clinic, and develop educational resources in multiple languages to support the patients.

Oral Health America - $25,000
Oral Health America's Wisdom Tooth Project seeks to improve the oral health of vulnerable older adults through five strategies, including the future development of a web portal for use by decision-makers in older adults' oral health care. The portal will provide national and regional content and information. DTAF funds will be used for web portal research, specifically, to investigate the opportunities and resources available in one community that the portal could promote and link to.

These findings will allow OHA to create a model for other regionally focused portions of the future WTP site. This effort builds on OHA's strategic planning for WTP in 2010, and in-depth stakeholder research under way at the national level. Dr. Ruth Goldblatt, in Connecticut, has agreed to serve as consultant by hosting a series of conversations with colleagues, advocates, caregivers and others statewide who are actively addressing barriers to care for geriatric patients. OHA’s proposed outcome: A framework for community engagement and a vision for the long-term sustainability of a web portal with meaningful regional content.

University of Maryland, College Park - $12,500
In this pre-pilot project, which DTAF funds will help, the University of Maryland, College Park is partnering with educators and school nurses in the city of Seat Pleasant, Md., to educate at least 20 teens about their oral health and that of their child. The emphasis of the project is the importance of the mother’s oral health during pregnancy; how and where to get dental care; how to maintain good oral health during and after pregnancy; fluoride regimes appropriate for them and their infants; how to prevent transmission of the caries causing bacteria to their infant; and how to promote good oral health in their child.

Key health messages will be reinforced through monthly meetings and weekly communications (text messages/email/regular mail). Participants will be followed until the infant is two years of age even though the project is one year in length.

University of Pittsburgh, Division of General Academic Pediatrics - $12,500
Early childhood caries are the most common chronic disease of childhood and the prevalence is increasing; however with early detection of the risk factors for caries and effective counseling on oral hygiene and dental care, many cases of early childhood caries can be prevented. Children typically receive early and frequent medical care from their primary care provider. Therefore this study, which DTAF will help to fund, seeks to explore the role of pediatricians in assessing caries-risk factors in children and to examine potential interventions to promote improved oral hygiene.

The goals of this project are:

1. Determine if pediatricians can accurately identify visible plaque on the teeth of young children, as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends in assessing a child's caries-risk.
2. To employ a longitudinal approach in evaluating the effectiveness of plaque disclosure as a means to change oral hygiene practices and exam in young children at risk for early childhood caries.

An update on the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives campaign

The outcomes of this study could lead to an enhanced use of the medical home in evaluating children at risk for early childhood caries and, ultimately, in preventing them.

For more information, go to www.dtafoundation.org.

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