Oral health for children is of particular concern. Rural children face significant oral health care disparities. Four factors contribute to this disparity: 1) low income and lack of dental insurance; 2) special needs status; 3) race and ethnicity, and 4) a shortage of dental providers.
Goal 1: To increase access to dental care for underserved children and youth in the 17-county service area of West Central and Southwest Minnesota. Objective 1: Grow Rice Regional Dental Clinic's capacity to serve pediatric patients by increasing the use of Dental Therapy students and increasing appointment blocks for pediatric patients resulting in double the number of children served annually. Objective 2: Assure access to and receipt of high quality dental care by increasing the number of age-specific and culturally-appropriate outreach materials and practice techniques in use. Goal 2: To increase community awareness of pediatric dental needs and practices, as well as the dental profession as a whole. Objective 1: Expand community outreach activities, using the ADA Smile Smarts Curriculum, reaching 1200 young people annually. Objective 2: Provide inter-professional learning opportunities to dental, dental therapy and dental hygiene students and increase knowledge of oral care practices outside of Dental Clinics through students outreach and collaboration with local pediatricians and the Rice Memorial Hospital. Objective 3: Increase the percentage of School of Dentistry students planning to practice in a rural area after graduation. Goal 3: To create a replicable, holistic and cost-effective model of care for pediatric dental patients in rural communities. Objective 1: Develop and enhance collaborative relationships among RRDC, pediatricians, state Title V MCH Program, and AAP State Chapters, connecting with all 17 Public Health directors over the course of the project. Objective 2: Pediatricians and other partners will identify RRDC as the Dental Home for their patients. Objective 3: Document our model of care.
The Pediatric Dentistry Access Project is an expansion of current activities at the Rice Regional Dental Clinic. The proposed project will significantly expand access to care to underserved children in the service area and builds on current Dental Clinic activities by 1) infusing a new pediatric focus in the Dental Clinic by developing partnerships with local pediatric providers and pediatric-related organizations; 2) doubling the number of pediatric patients served by the Dental Clinic, and 3) expanding oral health and oral health career education to children in the service area.
Develop and enhance collaborative relationships among RRDC, pediatricians, state Title V MCH Program, and AAP State Chapters, connecting with all 17 Public Health directors over the course of the project.
The School of Dentistry requires all students to track their patient encounters and treatments in the Outreach database, so all information regarding the pediatric services provided by students may be accessed and disseminated as needed. Community outreach activities will be also be recorded and entered into the Tracking Database, which can be accessed by project staff for evaluation and dissemination purposes.
RRDC has continued to increase its pediatric patient numbers, increasing the number of patients seen from 1161 in 2014 to 1407 from March 1 to November 25, 2015. Additionally, dental students on rotation at the clinic conducted community outreach to 1240 children in 2015 using the ADA's Bright Futures curriculum.