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Health Services Research Programs

Health Services Research initiative generally has been primarily oriented towards service to improve the oral health of Kentuckians. However, a number of opportunities are being explored, by which this initiative could create an economic stimulus in the state. The COHR has provided the infrastructure support for multiple projects focusing on the disparities in oral health, particularly as related to rural populations, areas with historically underserved populations lacking access to care, and community-based research linking medical practices to general and oral health of the patients. 

These proposals have included:

First Proposal

Physician's Oral Health Education in Kentucky (POHEK) - the overall goal of the is to create a curriculum to provide oral health education, including observation, diagnosis, and preventive information to family practice residents who will serve rural Kentucky;

Second Proposal

Save Our Kids Teeth (SOKiT) - is designed to build an infrastructure in 9 counties in rural Western Kentucky to address Early Childhood Caries epidemiology, plan prevention and control programs, document caries prevention and control resources in rural Western Kentucky, and insure that control of ECC is a community priority; determine the level of ECC risk factor knowledge and the level of ECC screening among practicing healthcare providers in these sites, focusing on nurses and physicians assistants involved in WIC Clinics. Assess the caregiver's knowledge of ECC risk factors and the value of early detection and prevention; train non-dental professional personnel to conduct an epidemiologic assessment of the Early Childhood Caries disease burden in rural Western Kentucky, including a descriptive study of incidence and severity at detection. Conduct an analysis of risk factor data related to caregiver and infants behaviors; and, utilize assessment data, education, and available resources to implement an early prevention/education program that includes oral health screening, train non-dental professionals to apply fluoride varnish, provide oral health education and promotion, and supply proper referral for follow-up treatment if needed.

Third Proposal

Family Oral Health improvement Network (FOHN) - will implement 3 primary tasks that must be addressed and adapted to successfully improve oral health in underserved areas: (Task 1) educating physicians/nurses who provide primary obstetrical care for expectant mothers and primary medical care for newborns and infants about the importance of oral health; (Task 2) identifying and coordinating community resources to improve the oral health education/dental behaviors and dental case management of expectant mothers and their babies; and, (Task 3) coordinating and using community health and dental resources to counsel, case manage, and provide oral health prevention and care to expectant mothers and their children. 

 

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