The Arizona Community Oral Health Profiles are a series of fact sheets used to provide Arizona communities with information on the oral health status of their residents. The Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Oral Health developed the profiles in 1997 to organize the available oral health information for communities and to provide easier access to this data. Each profile summarizes and coordinates the oral health findings from thirteen state surveys, and lists the information for a specific Arizona community, the county and the state for comparison. The purpose of the Community Oral Health Profile is to provide community-specific data to support a community in raising awareness of oral health needs, planning and developing solutions to meet the needs of its residents, and/or justifying resources. A searchable database stores profiles for 173 Arizona communities, allows the Office of Oral Health to update data from partners collecting surveillance data. Access to oral health data for all 173 community profiles by the public and communities is provided through the Arizona Department of Health Services Web site at http://www.azdhs.gov/hsd/chpprofiles.htm (oral health data added to a set of Arizona Community Health Profiles). Communities have used the profiles for grant proposals to seek funding for oral health prevention and treatment services and to support community water fluoridation.
In the beginning, profiles were developed for 131 Arizona communities. Over time the profiles have expanded to include 173 communities. Oral health data have been integrated into full Arizona Community Health Profiles. The Office of Oral Health staff maintains the database and periodically updates the profiles when new data is available.
The Office of Oral Health (OOH) has demonstrated the Community Oral Health Profiles to communities at an Arizona public health institute meeting and other workshops for community leaders and providers. A fact sheet template has been provided for communities to describe local oral health status and needs by filling in profile information. Communities have used the profiles to educate partners on their oral health status, to prepare grant proposals for funding oral health prevention and treatment services, and to support community water fluoridation.
The profiles resulted from the collaboration and financial support of three offices in the Arizona Department of Health Services (Office of Oral Health, Office of Women's and Children's Health and Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs). In addition, partnerships were developed in gathering and sharing data from the various contributors such as the Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Health Systems Development, the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners, and the Arizona Office of Health Registries. The profiles further support building linkages by sharing oral health data with communities.
In the beginning, one OOH employed dentist and a contracted dental consultant each spent 25% of their time over two years to develop the system for the Arizona Community Oral Health Profiles. In addition, a computer programmer was contracted to set up the searchable database and automate the production of the community profile reports. Approximate cost for setting up the profile system was $25,000. Funding was obtained from the Office of Women's and Children's Health and Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs to cover 50% of the initial costs.
Previous to the development of the Community Oral Health Profiles, a request for community oral health information typically required one staff person to spend 1-2 days to search the various survey resources and compile a report. With the profiles, a report is printed within minutes. In addition, the profiles have standardized the reporting of community-level findings from ongoing surveys and data sources (e.g., dental examination surveys and cancer registry).
The Community Oral Health Profiles have provided valuable information for communities in supporting their efforts to seek grant funding for improving access to dental care and initiating preventive oral health services. The Office of Oral Health has provided profile information to county health departments to raise awareness for oral health needs. In addition, profile information has successfully supported several communities in their water fluoridation efforts.