Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries
Kansas Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program
The Bureau of Oral Health, the Kansas MCH program, a Kansas safety net dental clinic and the state oral health coalition Oral Health Kansas collaborate on a project to improve the oral health of Kansas children and youth with special health care needs. In 2005 the Kansas Head Start Association was awarded a CATCH Planning Grant that funded a multidisciplinary planning process to develop a uniform response to the unmet dental needs of children with special health care needs. In 2007 the Bureau of Oral Health submitted a successful Health Resources and Services Administration Targeted State Oral Health Service Systems (HRSA TOHSS) to implement many of the ideas that were discussed that day.
The Kansas CYSHCN Program has three parts:
The Bureau of Oral Health and Oral Health Kansas also utilize grant funds to provide provider educational sessions. These have included in person educational events, webinars and online training that continues to be available at: https://ks.train.org.
The importance of partnerships in this effort cannot be overestimated. Although it was universally acknowledged that poor oral health is a major problem for Kansas children with special health care needs, it took time to identify ways that parent educators could access these families and provide services in a meaningful way. The educators were regional contract employees, so they lived in the communities that they were serving. Oral Health Kansas would provide initial guidance on how to make contacts, but it was left to the individual hygienist to follow through, sometimes with mixed results. The MCH staff also assisted with names and local contacts. Several of the project hygienists were already working with populations with special needs so this project just bolstered what they were already doing. For hygienists new to this work, they were often challenged to find partners and venues where they were well received. It took a special type of person to be persistent and motivated to get this project moving. Over the four year grant period there was some educator turnover, but several exceptional dental hygienists stuck with us for the whole project, developing programming skills and strong relationships with their local disability communities. These relationships ultimately assisted with program sustainability. At the University of Kansas Medical Center, the staff so valued the services the hygienists were providing they asked the MCH program to continue to fund the project. One of the project hygienists independently submitted a grant to a private funder, and between this funding and other funds promised by MCH program and the Bureau of Oral Health, this program will continue for many years to come.
Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:
Marcia A. Manter
785 235 6039 (phone)
Marc Shiff, MPA, BSBA
Director, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs/NBS