National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Dental Hygienist Liaison Project
Because of the importance of oral health during pregnancy and early childhood, in 2011 the National Center on Health, working in partnership with the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), created the Dental Hygienist Liaison (DHL) project. Under the DHL project, one dental hygienist from each state volunteers to help promote oral health for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start. The DHL project continues as part of the Office of Head Start currently funded through the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS). The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center is the project lead for NCHBHS oral health activities and works in partnership with ASTDD, which coordinates the Dental Hygienist Liaison Project.
Role of the Dental Hygienist Liaison
DHLs promote oral health in Head Start by:
- Providing a communication link between NCHBHS and Head Start agencies in their states
- Collaborating with state organizations such as oral health programs, Head Start collaboration offices, and Head Start Associations
- Providing oral health presentations at state conferences and meetings
- Offering strategies to improve access to oral health care for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start
- Working with oral health professionals to establish partnerships with local Head Start programs
- Sharing information about the importance of oral health and regular oral health visits, good nutrition and oral hygiene practices, and oral-injury-prevention strategies with Head Start program staff
- Serving on Head Start committees (e.g., Head Start health manager networks, Head Start health services advisory committees) and oral health advisory boards and coalitions to promote the oral health of Head Start participants
Dental Hygienist Liaisons in the News
- Dental Hygiene Liaisons: Your State's Perfect Partner
Three dental hygienist liaisons tell their stories of how they are making an impact in their communities and throughout their states. (November 2019)
- ADHA Access Article, December, 2019
In this special edition of Access on Nutrition, three dental hygienist liaisons were featured on how they provide nutrition education in their states (pages 8-9).
- ADHA Access Article on DHL Project May/June 2019
The dental hygienist liaison (DHL) project was featured in the digital version of the May/June issue of Access. The article and DHL project handout can be found on pages 17 and D8. The American Dental Hygienists' Association granted ASTDD permission to post this issue on their website.
Information about DHL Project
- State DHL and Regional DHL Coordinators Roster
- Dental Hygienist Liaison Orientation
- Dental Hygienist Liaison Project Handout
- DHL At-A-Glance Activity Guide
- RDHLC Region I-X At-a-Glance Activity Guide
- RDHLC Region XI-XII At-a-Glance Activity Guide
Information about Head Start
- Early Head Start / Head Start Program Locator
- Head Start Performance Standards Related to Oral Health
- Program Information Reports - First time users see bottom of the page for instructions on how to gain access to reports.
- Understanding PIR Data
- EPSDT Dental Periodicity Schedules by State
- Understanding the Dental Periodicity Schedule and Oral Exam: A Guide for Head Start Staff
Oral Health Social Media Campaign
2021 Social Media Campaign for Head Start Parents and Caregivers: Features messages and graphics for use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All of this content is accessible here http://bit.ly/HeadStartASTDD Visitors are encouraged to start by downloading the Social Media Toolkit, which contains all of the sample messages and instructions for using the videos/graphics that are stored on this web portal.
- Head Start Collaboration Offices by State - Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCO) facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state entities that provide services to benefit low-income children and their families.
- Head Start Regional Health Specialists
- State Oral Health Programs - Governmental Oral Health Programs in each state are diverse in size, location in the bureaucracy, funding, staffing and focus. This page provides links to separate pages for each state.
- State Oral Health Coalitions
- National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS) - NCHBHS is a consortium of partners that design evidence-based resources and deliver innovative training and technical assistance (TTA) to build the capacity of Head Start and other early childhood programs. The National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS) is funded by the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families.
- National Head Start Association (NHSA) - NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. Since 1974, NHSA has worked diligently for policy changes that ensure all at-risk children have access to the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family and the community.
- Regional and State Head Start Associations
Approved Educational Materials
ECLKC is a central repository for materials for Head Start staff and others who work to support health and wellness for pregnant women and children enrolled in Head Start programs. The materials listed on the oral health page of the ECLKC website are approved for sharing with Head Start staff and families. DHLs are encouraged to save this site as a favorite and refer to it often when responding to questions from Head Start staff and families. These materials cover a wide variety of oral health topics such as dental visits, fluoride, nutrition, oral health care, oral hygiene, and safety and emergency first aid. There are also numerous materials developed to help support Head Start staff in their efforts to improve the oral health of Head Start families and meet the requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards related to oral health.
These presentations, which have been approved by the Office of Head Start for NCHBHS oral health staff to use, cover topics such as engaging families, partnering with parents, dental public health, and promoting oral health during pregnancy. You may use the presentations as a whole or delete slides and/or combine slides from multiple presentations. You may not add any new content to the slides without approval. To download files, select the desired folders and click the download arrow in the upper right corner of the screen.
2022 DHL Meetings and Webinars
2022 DHL Assessment Results- This webinar topic is focused on the state DHLs' responses to the NCHBHS Year 2 DHL Assessment. This is a tool we ask state DHLs to complete each summer to help us understand what resources are helpful as well as what additional support DHLs would like to have. We also use it to get an overall sense of the success of the DHL project when it comes to providing support to Head Start programs across the nation. DHLs also share stories of their successes and ask for suggestions from the group. (September 2022)
Oral Health in Indian Country- This webinar will share the current state of oral health among children from AIAN communities, identify their unique barriers to care, and offer suggestions on how to respectfully collaborate with AIAN communities in your state to offer support. Current and emerging prevention and treatment strategies and approaches for accessing oral health care will also be addressed. (May 2022)
Social Determinants of Health and Oral Health - This webinar introduces social determinants of health (SDOH), their role in creating oral health disparities, and how Head Start services address SDOH and promote health equity. It also shares resources or materials DHLs can explore to learn more about the issue. (February 2022)
- Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges
- A Community Framework for Addressing Social Determinants of Oral Health
- National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown
- DHL Tracking Form - DHL Quarterly Tracking Form - Use of this form is optional. DHLs can use this form to track their activities each quarter. This form is intended as a tool for tracking purposes only and is not submitted.
- DHL Quarterly Progress Report (to be completed by state DHLs only): DHLs complete and submit this form each quarter to share the activities they accomplished.
- DHL Annual Stipend Request Form
- RDHLC Region I-X Progress Report (to be completed by regional DHLs in regions I - X only, not state DHLs): Regional DHL Coordinators for Region I-X complete and submit this form each quarter to share the activities they accomplished.
- RDHLC Region XI-XII Progress Report (to be completed by regional DHLs in regions XI-AIAN and region XII-HSMS only, not state DHLs): Regional DHL Coordinators for Region XI-XII complete and submit this form each quarter to share the activities they accomplished.
- Meeting Report Form
- Expense Reimbursement Form