Growing national attention to adolescent health and positive youth development has not often included concern about teen’s oral health. The dental professions have not yet actively engaged adolescent issues. Substantial disparities exist in adolescents’ oral health and their use of dental services. “Youthful Smiles”, the oral health component of “Partners in Program Planning for Adolescent Health”, addresses these problems of inattention and lack of integration by engaging the broad dental community and partnering with other provider groups. Component problems addressed include the lack of (I) information on adolescent oral health; (2) organizational infrastructure and programming within and between dental organizations; and (3) inter-professional activity, public awareness, and policymakers’ action on adolescent oral health.
GOALS AND OUTCOME OBJECTIVES:
Goal I: Promote awareness, information, and programming on adolescent oral health and positive youth development (AOH/PYD) across a spectrum of dental organizations. Objectives: (1) develop and disseminate authoritative information that is relevant and accessible to providers and policymakers; (2) establish sustainable infrastructure on AOH/PYD within dental organizations; (3) institutionalize a coalition of dental groups and policy/resource centers to promote programming on AOHIPYD.
Goal 2: Actively integrate oral health in the work of other professional groups that address the needs of adolescents. Objectives: (1) enhance integration of oral health into systems of care serving adolescents through communication, shared expertise, joint education and training, and integrated programming; (2) leverage the adolescent component of the AAPD Foundation’s oral health education campaign on oral health by targeting non-dental providers as well as the public.
Goal 3: Reduce oral health and dental care disparities among adolescents. Objectives:
engage dental coalition in (1) addressing Healthy People 2010 “critical objectives for adolescents” and ~oral health objectives”; (2) promoting enrollment and utilization of SCHIP by eligible teens; (3) informing and improving public policies and clinical policies that hold potential to reduce disparities.
111Goal 4: Collaborate with Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Office of Adolescent Health to promote its Title V missions and key strategies including building a data and information base; improving state infrastructure; identifying and replicating best practices, policies, and partners; improving insurance coverage, and encouraging positive youth development. Objectives: continuously refine this project through (1) rigorous evaluation (2) responsiveness to MCHB/OAH interests and guidance.