|Best Practices in Community Outreach and Meeting Access to Oral Health Care
An Innovative Community Outreach Model: An Educational Approach That Expands Opportunities and Targets Access to Oral Health Care Needs
Colleen M. Brickle RDH, RF, EdD
Institution and address:
Normandale Community College
9700 France Ave. S
Bloomington, MN 55410
Presentation synopsis: Normandale Community College is committed to serving the needs of its internal and external communities. Accomplishing the objectives will enable Normandale to work toward its larger vision of using its resources to reduce health disparities in underserved populations. At the same time, we will be educating students regarding dental hygiene practice beyond the private practice setting. This is instrumental in reaching the populations most in need of oral health care services not only in Minnesota but throughout the nation.
A wide variety of approaches to improving access to care are being explored across the country. Strategies range from improving public program administration and reimbursement to new practice and workforce models. Minnesota has been piloting new technologies with the use of collaborative dental hygiene practice. In an article published in 2001 in the Journal of the American Dental Association titled “Practicing in the Age of Telemedicine” noted that “Teledentistry has the ability to improve access to care, to improve the delivery of health care and lower its costs.” Furthermore, teledentistry has the potential to enhance collaborative dental hygiene practice through the use of new technologies. The use of teledentistry opens up a new world to improving access to care and maximizes the knowledge and skills of dental hygienists.
For the past five years, we have included innovation as an important component within the Normandale dental hygiene program through community partnerships. This presentation will focus on a partnership between Normandale Community College and Apple Tree Dental. A longest standing partnership with Apple Tree Dental has existed for over five years using Teledentistry at Ridgeview Elementary School in Bloomington. The rotations at Ridgeview Elementary School included classroom-based education programs for the elementary students and delivery of preventive dental care services using Apple Tree’s Mobile Dental offices. The dental hygiene students’ clinical experiences included the application of fluoride varnishes and sealant placements; the taking of digital x-rays, digital photos, and digital intra-oral video and still images; and the use of the DIAGNOdent in caries detection.
The opportunities and benefits gained through the Ridgeview project assist Normandale Community College and its partners in addressing the critical issues of access to dental care in Minnesota. The project also strengthened the relationship between Normandale and Apple Tree Dental as we tested new ways to leverage expertise and resources to meet the needs of the students as well as the changing needs of the dental professionals who are concerned with meeting the critical issues of access to dental care in Minnesota. The experiences provide each dental hygiene student with the opportunity to develop the assessment and clinical skills necessary to work effectively in alternative settings outside the dental hygiene clinic. Outreach experiences enhance the students’ understanding of social issues surrounding the dental hygiene profession as well as promote concepts of community health, civic participation, values clarification, and personal/professional growth. Performing clinical experiences at community outreach opportunities will teach students how to extend settings, in which they can practice under general supervision, allowing them to address barriers of access and transportation and resulting in increased access to care for underserved populations.
Specific Learning Outcomes:
Participants who attend this session will learn how to:
To broaden the clinical experience of dental hygiene students by establishing off-campus outreach opportunities at community sites through the implementation of teledentistry and the use of portable dental equipment.
To increase dental care access in Minnesota by educating dental hygiene students in the use of teledentistry and collaborative agreements.
To create partnerships based on shared vision and strengthened the relationship of both organizations.