MPH student Ms. Adiam Mengis awarded the “Student Rising Star” recognition (https://apha.confex.com/…/143am/webprogram/Session45886.html) at the 143rd APHA meeting in Chicago for her presentation entitled: Oral Health behaviors and access to care of students participating in a School-based Oral Health Project.
The North Vallejo School-Based Oral Health Project is an intervention conducted for ethnically diverse individuals with limited access to oral care. The purpose of this descriptive study is to investigate perceptions of oral health knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among children in a low socioeconomic community. This study is a cross-sectional study performed from 2012 to 2014. A sample of 204 child participants, who visited the school-based clinic with their caregivers, were given self-administered surveys after their dental service visit. The target population is children of 7 to 17 (mean age 12) years of age residing in Vallejo, California. Overall, approximately two-thirds of students maintained healthy nutritional habits as evident by the weekly number of sugary drinks reported; with 11 percent and 55 percent reporting none and one-two per week, respectively. To determine children’s perceptions of access to dental care, they were asked how often they had visited the dentist. Many (44 percent) reported regular visits (about once per year), one-half (51 percent) reported having only visited a dentist one to three times ever. Of respondents who had ever visited the dentist, approximately three-quarters (71 percent) reported a “check-up” as the primary reason. Findings show that we need to continue to provide programs that help maintain oral health care services in trying to achieve better oral health behavior and more access to oral health care in the underserved communities, like Vallejo, California.