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Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries

Michigan Oral Health Surveillance System Plan - Guiding the Development of a State Surveillance System

Practice Number: 25004
Submitted By: Michigan Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology
Submission Date: August 2007
Last Reviewed: June 2013
Last Updated: June 2013
Best Practice Approach Example Michigan Oral Health Surveillance Plan - Guiding the Development of a State Surveillance System

The Michigan Oral Health Surveillance Plan was updated in 2009 and laid out a plan for surveillance activities for the Michigan Oral Health Program through 2013.  The planning process directed the design of the Michigan Oral Health Surveillance System (MOHSS) through a collaborative effort between the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Oral Health Coalition.  The implementation of the surveillance plan built an oral health surveillance system for Michigan which fulfilled the Healthy People (HP) 2010 objective 21-16.  The MOHSS tracks the state’s progress towards achieving HP 2010 and 2020 oral health objectives including the HP 2020 leading health indicator to increase persons aged 2 years and older who use the oral health care system in the past 12 months.  The MOHSS tracks oral health indicators, monitor trends, and evaluates the impact of prevention initiatives.  Surveillance data is shared routinely with stakeholders to enable evidence-based practice and implementation of Michigan’s State Oral Health Plan. 

Surveillance information aids the development and implementation of new programs as well as the evaluation and improvement of existing oral health programs.  Michigan’s surveillance system integrates oral health into several population-based surveillance activities and information from these data sources is coordinated by the oral health epidemiologist.  Surveillance data deficiencies were identified and resources have been applied to collect additional data.

The following are accomplishments in carrying out the Michigan Oral Health Surveillance Plan and building the MOHSS:

  • The Michigan Oral Health Burden Report was updated and published in 2013.
  • A new data source was identified in Michigan, the Michigan Inpatient Database-hospitalization records.  Results from this analysis were presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in 2012.
  • Data sources used in establishing the surveillance system have been applied in the development of Michigan’s Oral Health Plan.
  • The surveillance system has become a resource of information for state and local agencies applying for grants related to oral health improvement.
  • Surveillance activities have been useful in identifying at-risk populations and communities such as areas within the state with elevated risks of oral cancer incidence and mortality and provider shortage areas.
  • The surveillance system supports new data collection including the implementation of a statewide survey (BSS) to assess oral health of the 3rd grade children.  This survey was completed in 2010 with results published in Count Your Smiles 2011-2012 report.  The survey was a success and will be continued in future years.   

Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:

Christine M. Farrell, RDH, BSDH, MPA, Oral Health Program Director, Division of Family & Community Health, Michigan Department of Community Health, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48913, Phone: 517-335-8388, Fax: 517-335-8697, Email: