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Dental Public Health Activities: Descriptive Summaries

SEAL! Of Approval Program

Practice Number: 25008
Submitted By: Michigan Department of Community Health, Oral Health Program
Submission Date: September 2014
Last Reviewed: September 2014
Last Updated: September 2014
Best Practice Approach Example -

As the SEAL! Michigan school-based dental sealant program grantees begin to become financially self-sustaining; the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) developed a new program in efforts to keep the lines of communication and collaboration open between the programs and the department.  Thus in the fall of 2013, the MDCH launched the SEAL! Of Approval Program (SOAP). 

The SEAL! Of Approval Program is the program that school-based dental sealant programs can be a part of when they are not directly funded under a SEAL! Michigan grant at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).  Participants of this program will earn the SEAL! Of Approval by entering into a Memoriam of Understanding (MOU) with the MDCH Oral Health Program and then completing the same quality focused steps as the funded SEAL! Michigan grantees. 

This concept branched from discussions from current funded grantees and the concern that they expressed with losing funding and technical assistance at the same time.  The ultimate goal of SEAL! Michigan is to fund school-based dental sealant programs until they are sound and self-sustaining financially and then begin a new program in the state with those open funds.  However many programs are funded under MDCH from their inception and rely on the technical assistance and collaboration support just as much as they rely on the funding. This is a way to express commitment to the overall continued success of their program, while at the same time starting a new school-based dental sealant program in a new region of the state, thus growing the SEAL! MI program and ultimately the amount of dental sealants placed on permanent teeth in Michigan.   

Programs that may qualify to be a part of the SOAP program if they are fully able to demonstrate that they are a community-based program.  Community-based programs focus on taking care of their own community to ensure that every child (with parental consent) is provided affordable preventative dental services, are referred to a dental home, and are pain free.  A significant focus of the program is to ensure that urgent situations are treated as quickly as possible so that the children are healthy and thriving.  MDCH places significant emphasis in accepting programs that operate high quality school-based dental sealant programs that can demonstrate exceptional quality of care is delivered in the most cost efficient manner. Programs must also demonstrate continuous quality improvement and dedication to their community.

Accepted programs are affiliated with the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Oral Health Program.  Once accepted programs will receive the same technical assistance and benefits as the funded SEAL! Michigan programs.  This means having access to forms, printed brochures, annual summer workshop, continuing education credits, newsletters, logo’s, marketing efforts, and educational support from federal organizations in which the MDCH collaborates with.

Programs interested in participating will consent to a site visit at the school while sealants are being placed, will complete an annual training focused on school-based programs and an OSAP checklist focused on infection control procedures, sign an Memorandum Of Understanding to be effective for one year, place the SEAL! Of Approval logo onto forms, and submit requested data to MDCH twice a year in March and September. 

Data collection includes the name and number of schools served, the number of students screened, the number of students sealed, the number of 1st and 2nd molars sealed and the total number of sealants placed per grant year and this information is collected in March and September each year.  The MOU is good for one year and is resigned on an annual basis.  The data will then be collected and tracked along with SEAL! Michigan data.

As the SEAL! Of Approval Program grows, so will the SEAL! Michigan program.  Maintaining a supportive collaborative relationship will provide strength and unity in what the school-based dental sealant program in Michigan stands for—a high quality, community-based, school-based dental sealant program focused on preventing dental decay around the state.

Lessons Learned:

The MDCH learned the following lessons to reduce barriers/challenges:

•          Meet prior to program design to hear about interest and concerns prior to program development;

•    Those operating under the SOAP initiative have reduced data collection requirements than the SEAL! MI programs to. This is done to increase participation in the program because data reporting under the SEAL! MI program is reported as consuming and redundant with other state reporting requirements;

•    Expect to allocate time throughout the year to support programs with technical assistance, travel, site visits etc.;

•    Created a non-threatening MOU in collaboration with SEAL! MI grantees that is designed to benefit both the sealant program and MDCH;

•    Market the program to currently funded programs so that they are aware that collaboration can still exist without the transfer of direct funding, this was found to be encouraging to programs as they transition from funding to no funding;

•    Although the program is for those that are not directly funded, the program will cost the DOH and SOAP personnel as meetings and trainings take place, ensure in-kind donations of both time and funding for travel is possible;

•          Anonymous evaluation of the program is essential to learn about how to further modify the SOAP. 

Contact Person(s) for Inquiries:

Jill Moore, RDH, BSDH, MHA
Dental Sealant Coordinator
Michigan Department of Community Health
Division of Family and Community Health
P. O. Box 30195
Lansing, MI  48909
Phone: 517-373-4943
Fax: 517-335-8697