A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 1. Mobilize Community Support

B. Finding Partners and Champions

When adding members to a current community oral health coalition or when initiating a new coalition, it is important to look for partners who are or can become champions for oral health. It is often useful to start by identifying groups concerned about oral health issues and whose constituents may have significant oral health needs. Examples of such groups include the following:

  • Community action agencies
  • Local health professionals (e.g., family physicians, pediatricians, community/migrant/tribal health center workers, hospital emergency room staff)
  • Agencies that work with special population groups (e.g., children, individuals who are homeless, individuals with disabilities, immigrants)
  • Local elected officials (e.g., state legislators, county or city government, city council, board of supervisors)
  • Head Start and child care programs
  • School nurses
  • Parent teachers associations
  • Professional groups (e.g., state American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] chapter, public health associations, dental associations, dental hygiene associations, primary care associations, school nurse associations)
  • Professional schools (e.g., dental schools, dental hygiene schools, nursing schools, schools of public health)
  • Area Health Education Centers (AHECs)
  • Faith communities

Coalition development requires careful planning and thoughtful implementation. Two useful publications that provide valuable information about coalition development are

Often, some particularly compelling data or anecdotal information about oral health issues may be available that will capture the interest of potential coalition members and help initiate activity. A quick survey of oral disease in children attending Head Start programs or interviews with school nurses working in a high-poverty area of the community can provide information that will create a sense of urgency.

Existing interagency councils or coalitions are often aware of oral health access issues and may willingly support action when oral health partners and champions emerge.

Briefly, the steps in coalition development include the following:

  • Discuss the need for and potential goals and accomplishments of a coalition
  • Recruit committed, energetic, influential experts
  • Determine goals, objectives, and proposed activities
  • Identify individuals or representatives of organizations to take responsibility for completing activities
  • Convene coalition members
  • Determine coalition needs and resources
  • Determine coalition structure
  • Plan for ongoing vitality of the coalition
  • Evaluate each coalition activity and the coalition’s overall performance to guide future modifications and promote the coalition’s success

When community support has been mobilized, it is time to move on to the next step—assessment of oral health needs and resources.

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Table of Contents Appendices AACDP References Home Appendices References Conclusion Step 6 Step 5 Step 4 Step 3 Step 2 Executive Summary Overview Step 1 Acknowledgements