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Adapting Programs to Serve Your Community

Rural communities may also take guidance and direction for oral health programs from promising programs. One rural community developed a program that combines treatment and education services in a dental clinic by adapting a dental disease management initiative focused on risk-based treatment and patient education, Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). Another community used the Health Resources and Services Administration's Health Disparities Collaborative as the basis for their rural oral health program. The United South and Eastern Tribes Dental Support Center provides an organizational model and guidelines that can be adapted to rural community attributes.

In addition to implementing promising programs, rural communities are also adapting their program activities to best serve their populations. For example, when providing mobile dental services in rural areas, a dental van can be rotated to various locations on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis to accommodate for the longer travel distances. Additionally, a mobile dental services program may incorporate a teledentistry component to prescreen and diagnose patients before the van arrives in a particular community.

To accommodate patients' schedules, some programs provide two-to-three day portable clinic access events at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and health departments. These events are staffed by dental and medical professionals and community member volunteers, and offer opportunities for people to access care without an appointment.

Resources to Learn More

Northeast Oral Health Project
The Northeast Oral Health Project promotes the health of school children by employing a school based dental sealant program, providing dental screenings, and providing oral health education on proper brushing and hygiene.
Organization(s): Northeast Colorado Health Department

Oral Health Disparities Collaborative Implementation Manual
This manual shares experiences and lessons learned from health centers that participated in the 2005 HRSA Oral Health Disparities Collaborative Pilot.
Organization(s): The Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Date: 6/2008

State of Alaska, Oral Health
This webpage provides a general overview of Alaska's oral health surveillance program, state oral health plan, oral health coalition, school-based oral health program, and water fluoridation program.
Organization(s): Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health