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Southwest Health and Human Services

4-H: An important stakeholder group in a community project

Project Type: 
Oral Health Literacy

The Southwest Health and Human Services 4–H project is four fold:  1) To unite all stakeholders who own the caries problem affecting the community’s high-risk children.  2) To increase oral health literacy community-wide.  3) To train primary care medical providers (PCMP) to provide caries prevention services (CPS) (oral exam, paper and pencil risk assessment, anticipatory guidance about caries etiology and the caregiver’s role in prevention), application of fluoride varnish (FV) quarterly, and advising the caregiver that FV is not a substitute for a dental home or for sealants.   CPS services should be initiated by age one and thereafter as part of routine well/ill childcare to all high-risk (Medicaid) children.  4) To get community dentists to take referrals without regard to insurance status if the PCMP will offer CPS as part of well/ill child care and will tutor dentists to feel comfortable with 1 – 3 year olds.  These efforts will be closely monitored for compliance by the community’s stakeholders.

4-H Regional Extension Educators want to show that 4-H can be a viable, proactive stakeholder group.  Youth will develop public service announcements to be read over local radio/TV stations, displays and other appropriate media presentations.  They will gain skills in designing and delivering messages in ways that connect skills to active citizenry.  4-H will promote Oral Health zones at local functions (picnics, ice cream socials, town hall meetings), city council meetings, medical and dental clinics, etc.  Their being well known by the community will enhance the community’s acceptance of the message that they deliver.  They will be interviewed by local press and will be the voice of the local Oral Health Zone project.