Organize the Assessment
A needs and resources assessment should be thoughtfully
planned. It should be guided by the questions that need to
be answered to
develop, integrate, expand, or enhance a community oral health
programs. Such questions could include
- Who in the community does not have access to oral health care?
Why don’t they have access to oral health care?
- Who is available to provide oral health care?
- What are the oral health needs of different population groups (defined
by age, race, ethnicity)?
- What are the oral health conditions (e.g., tooth decay, oral cancer)
that affect overall oral health status?
- What is the effect of health insurance coverage on access to oral
- What oral health education and promotion resources are available?
What is the community’s oral health care capacity?
these and other questions and to implement effective programs,
it is essential to (1) understand the community, (2)
and potential oral health resources, (3) determine unmet oral
health needs, and (4) identify barriers to oral health care.
first step in organizing the assessment of needs and resources
is to get help. The community oral health coalition described
1. Mobilize Community Support, A. Getting Started may
be able to provide assistance. The coalition’s effectiveness
can be enhanced through the involvement of other community
stakeholders (e.g., Head
Start staff, school nurses,
hospital emergency room staff, interagency council members,
or academic institution faculty) who can assist with such
activities as identifying
existing data, determining assessment questions, guiding
the assessment, conducting data collection and analysis, and
utilization of the findings. Such stakeholders’ early
involvement in the assessment process will also encourage
their later commitment
to the implementation process.
The second step in organizing
an assessment is determining what data will be needed to
answer questions and how the
It is important to select only data relevant to the assessment
Primary data are data collected directly; such data may
be gathered from consumers and oral health professionals
such as focus groups, interviews, or surveys. Secondary
data are collected
from secondary sources (e.g., censuses, surveys).Data can
be either qualitative (e.g., obtained from surveys, interviews,
groups) or quantitative (e.g., statistical data). A mix
of primary, secondary,
qualitative, and quantitative data provides the most comprehensive
and robust description of oral health needs in the community.
Oral Health Needs: ASTDD Seven-Step Model
by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors
(ASTDD), provides useful guidance about conducting
The model includes a comprehensive description of each
step in the process
along with an example of a completed assessment, worksheets,
and an extensive bibliography. The model can be adapted
to meet a variety
of assessment needs.
Healthy People 2010 Oral Health Took Kit
available from the National Institute of Dental and
Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), is another useful resource.