Purpose: Early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common chronic disease in young children, yet it is entirely preventable. The goal of this project is to help reduce the burden of ECC in Latino communities. Thirteen Latina caregivers were trained and mentored to become Community Oral Health Workers (COHWs) who then provided oral health workshops in their communities (train-the-trainer model). This project utilized an enhanced curriculum and built on project results from the 2016 pilot study.
Methods: 13 caregivers from Hope Street Family Center participated in four interactive 2-hour (Eng./Span.) oral health training sessions (and several practice sessions) instructed by a UCLA pediatric dental resident, dental students, and nursing students. Upon completion of the training and practice sessions and under the supervision of the dental resident, the COHWs then conducted 10 community oral health workshops. Data was collected to assess changes in knowledge and attitudes of caregivers regarding children’s oral health.
Results: 129 caregivers attended the 10 workshops given by the COHWs. These caregiver’s (N=129) knowledge and attitudes about children’s oral health significantly increased (p<0.05) with our COHWs’ targeted & culturally competent 1-hour workshop.
Conclusions: This project shows that caregiver’s knowledge and attitudes regarding children’s oral health can be significantly positively changed with a train-the-trainer model. COHWs are an underutilized resource who can help reduce oral health disparities and hopefully improve ECC rates for vulnerable populations. Efforts to utilize COHWs for ECC prevention is a viable option that must be expanded.
No data available for change in behavior, future study.