A Guide for Developing and Enhancing Community Oral Health Programs  
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Step 2. Assess Needs and Resources

B. Conduct the Assessment (continued)

3. Identify Existing and Potential Resources

An overview of existing and potential oral health resources appears below.

Community Resources

Public health agencies may have funding, expertise, staff, facilities, support, equipment, and linkages with other organizations that can be useful. Questions to ask potential resources are as follows:

  • Is oral health an agency priority?
  • What mechanisms are in place for communication between oral health program staff and agency leaders?
  • Do oral health program staff play a role in agencywide planning and decision-making?
  • Does the oral health program provide advice, consultation, and guidance about oral health to other departments within the agency?
  • What oral health services are provided, and what oral health activities are conducted?

Community/Migrant/Tribal Health Centers. Many community health centers or other federally qualified health centers provide oral health care. The HRSA Information Center has an online tool to find such centers.

Indian Health Service. Information about tribal oral health may be obtained from Indian Health Service (IHS) area offices.

School-Based Health Centers. Some school-based health centers offer oral health services, and even those without such services are likely to have data about students’ oral health needs. The National Assembly of School-Based Health Care conducts an annual census of school-based health centers.

Schools. Most states have mandated school health programs that include a focus on oral and nutritional health. Many school administrators understand the impact of poor oral health on school attendance and learning and may be eager to participate in activities focused on improving oral health. Contact the state school health program, which may be housed in the state department of education or the state department of health.

Dental Schools. Dental schools, dental hygiene schools, dental assistant schools, or residency programs in the community may be willing to help provide services, and they may also be able to assist with data collection. The American Dental Education Association's Web site is useful for locating local schools and programs.

Public Health, Medical, and Nursing Schools. Schools of public health, medical schools, or nursing schools in the region, state, or community may be able to help assess data. The Association of Schools of Public Health's Web site is useful for locating such schools.

Associations or Primary Care Programs. A statewide or regional community oral health association or primary care program may provide oral health information, resource sharing, mentoring, and policy promotion. Such associations or programs may also arrange continuing education opportunities that are geared to the needs and interests of oral health professionals. Contact the state oral health office about gaining access to such associations or programs.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs). CAAs help people help themselves in achieving self-sufficiency. CAAs are oriented toward advocacy, can provide entry into low-income communities, and may be able to offer other resources to help improve community oral health.

Child Care and Education Programs. Early Head Start and Head Start programs have data available about the health, including oral health, of children enrolled in the program. Contact the Head Start-state collaboration office for information.

Child care providers are often interested in partnering with the community to offer services to families. The agency administering the Child Care and Development Fund can provide information about local child care programs.

Nutrition Programs. WIC, the Food Stamp program, and Cooperative Extension Services are other important resources in efforts to improve oral health.

Area Health Education Centers (AHECs). AHECs bring together many health care disciplines to focus on common concerns, including oral health; provide continuing education; and address work force and policy issues.

Other Community Programs and Services. Some communities have charitable, faith-based, or dental-society-supported programs focused on issues that may include oral health. Often, communities have an inter-agency council or directory, which may include information obtained about current health services capacity (including oral health services capacity) and perceptions of unmet needs. Other resources may include local and regional foundations, local businesses, health and dental insurance carriers, and dental supply businesses.

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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