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RWJF seeks preventive oral health models for study

Nominate an innovative program by March 28

March 14, 2012

Do you know of a promising practice model that could increase access to and availability of preventive oral health services?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks nominations to help identify promising and innovative practices, programs, policies or models in the following areas:

  1. Dental providers in nondental settings. Dental providers may expand the public's access to preventive oral health services through a variety of programs and settings, such as Women, Infants and Children and Head Start programs, classrooms, congregate meal sites, and public health and social services centers. Dentists, dental hygienists and other dental providers may provide oral health education, fluoride, sealants and other services in these diverse settings.
  2. Nondental providers in nondental settings. Nondental providers may include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, nutritionists, child care and outreach workers and others. With the appropriate education and training, these professionals can educate patients, perform dental screenings and make referrals for dental treatment.
  3. New types of dental professionals trained to provide preventive services. New types of dental professionals who focus on preventive services may be added to the dental team, function independently in collaborative practice with a dentist or practice under general supervision of a dentist.
  4. Innovative preventive practices in traditional dental settings. Dentistry and dental education are increasingly moving toward a medical model of dental disease that prioritizes prevention, risk assessment and disease management. This approach is likely to change how dentistry is practiced and delivered in offices and clinics.

An expert panel will review nominations and select about 25 practices for an assessment. Selected practices will be notified this summer and invited to participate in a site visit. The site visit will assist in further assessing the potential effectiveness of each practice and determine its readiness for a formal evaluation. A team of evaluators will learn about selected practices and assess their implementation, data availability, intended outcomes and staff capacity. The evaluation team may offer ideas for program improvement and evaluation design. Practices found to be promising may be recognized by the RWJF or other organizations; some may be considered for a comprehensive evaluation funded and conducted by RWJF.

Nominated practices must be suitable for implementation and replication in similar settings or populations. In addition, only practices that are currently being implemented and have been in the field for at least six months will be considered and must have a need for additional rigorous evaluation.

David Krol, M.D., MPH, is the senior program officer for the study. The evaluation contractor is ICF International. To nominate a practice for review and consideration, complete and submit the nomination form available online at www.rwjf.ws/z2FkCG. Contact Kari Cruz at kCruz@icfi.com or 1-404-321-3211 with questions.