Introduction to the ASTDD Best Practices Project
ASTDD and its members, through a Cooperative Agreement with CDC, Division of Oral Health, provide leadership in seeking best practices in dental public health. The ASTDD Best Practices Project organizes and coordinates this effort.
The ASTDD Best Practices Project aims to help build more effective state, territorial and community oral health programs (programs administered by the health agencies). Effective programs will be better able to:
- Build infrastructure and capacity for state, territorial and community oral health programs.
- Meet the Call to Action set by the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health and by A National Call to Action to Promote Oral Health to improve quality of life and reduce health disparities, and
- Make advancement towards achieving Healthy People 2010 objectives to enhance the oral health of all Americans and reduce health disparities.
The goal of the ASTDD Best Practices Project is to promote best practice approaches and cultivate best practices among state (includes territory) and community oral health programs to improve the oral health of Americans and reduce disparities.
The Project recognizes that oral health programs have different environments, infrastructure, cultures, resource availability, local burden of disease, and political considerations. Therefore, end-users need to critically assess the best practice information and adapt ideas and strategies to better meet their needs.
The following are expected outcomes or achievements for the ASTDD Best Practices Project:
- Raise awareness of oral health among the public and policymakers.
- Document successful practices of the state/territorial/community oral health programs, implemented through leadership, partnership and/or collaboration.
- Share ideas and lessons learned from successful practices of state/territorial/community oral health programs.
- Promote communications and technical cooperation among the states, territories and communities on solutions to improve oral health.
- Establish evaluation approaches and measures to better identify the "gold standard" and guide the promotion/cultivation of best practices.
- Update ASTDD guidelines for state/territorial/community oral health programs by incorporating best practices.
- Develop best practice criteria or models to guide practice improvements and illustrate implementation strategies.
- Create a best practice system that will sustain efforts in promoting and cultivating best practices.
The ASTDD Best Practices Project's approach will consist of three initial working stages.
- The first stage focuses on state input using the programs' successes as a key resource in seeking best practices. This stage will set up a process of capturing successful practices to provide ideas, share lessons learned, and identify best practices.
- The second stage involves developing the appropriate evaluation strategies to identify "good, better and best" aspects of dental public health practices and review standards to distinguish proven and promising best practices.
- The third stage is to assimilate the information, transfer lessons learned, update guidelines, describe best practice models, identify research and practice evaluation needs, identify policy implications, and share information.
The following diagram illustrates the ASTDD Best Practices Project’s working framework: