Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease. Addressing the oral health status of children is crucial because when left untreated, early childhood dental caries leads to pain, interference with eating, overuse of the emergency room, poor self-esteem, lost school time, and ultimately, a poorer quality of life. While oral health is often ignored and treated as separate from general health, it is robustly connected to overall health and should be integrated to improve the general health and well-being of children. By educating Certified Application Assistants (CAAs) about the importance of oral health and the prevention, early detection, and management of oral health disease, they will help raise awareness among families and encourage parents to access oral health services for their children, thereby improving oral health. Developed by NHF, the oral health curriculum serves as a comprehensive resource for oral health information for Los Angeles County CAAs and is offered to CAAs, advocates, educators and providers on an ongoing basis through a partnership between NHF and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Children’s Health Outreach Initiatives. As an integrated part of all CHAMP Children’s trainings, CAAs receive information and resources to help parents understand the importance of oral health and how to access needed oral health services for their children.
Measured or Anticipated Outcomes
- Disseminate a comprehensive resource for oral health information for LA County CAAs at trainings and online through CHAMP-Net (www.CHAMP-Net.org)
- Provide oral health curriculum to more than 500 CAAs annually and make it available to CAAs statewide
- Increase CAAs knowledge and awareness of oral health and ability to connect children and families to vital oral health services
- Improve families’ understanding of the importance of children’s oral health and encourage utilization of needed oral health services leading to improved oral health for children
- Education of providers, advocates, teachers, parents and communities about the importance of oral health, the prevention, early detection, and management of oral health diseases and access to vital oral health services leads to improved oral health for children
- Integration of oral health in healthcare and community-based programs as a means for achieving improved general health and well-being for children
Funding for the development of this curriculum was provided by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Children’s Health Outreach Initiatives, has funded CHAMP training in Los Angeles County since 2003, and their support has allowed NHF to provide the oral health curriculum on an ongoing basis.
Sonia Gandara, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org .