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Strengthening the evidence base for maternal and child health programs

New: MCH Best strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCH Best. NPM 13.2: Preventive Dental Visit: Childhood

MCH Best Logo young girl receiving oral health exam

Strategy. School/Preschool Interventions: School-Based Dental Services/Head Start Participation

Approach. Increase oral health referrals among children and youth through School Based Health Centers (SBHCs).

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Overview. Participants in Head Start had significantly higher average number of preventive dental visits than non-Head Start participants. There is also evidence showing effectiveness for school-based dental services such as screening and referral improving receipt of past year preventive dental visit for children.1

Evidence. Moderate Evidence. School/preschool interventions appear to be effective. Access the peer-reviewed evidence about school or preschool interventions from the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. School.

Outcome. Percent of infants and children ages 1 to 17 with a past-year preventive dental visit. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. There are currently 11 ESMs across all states/jurisdictions that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. Access descriptions of these ESMs through the MCH Digital Library. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Increase oral health referrals among children and youth through School Based Health Centers (SBHCs),” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework (for suggestions on how to develop programs to support this strategy, see The Role of Title V in Adapting Strategies):

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of School Based Health Centers that provide preventive oral health services in the state.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percentage of School Based Health Centers that provide preventive oral health services in the state.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of children and youth provided with a preventive dental visit in the last 12 months through a School Based Health Center.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percentage of children and youth provided with a preventive dental visit in the last 12 months through a School Based Health Center.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


Reference:

1 Martin AB, Hardin JW, Veschusio C, Kirby HA. Differences in dental service utilization by rural children with and without participation in Head Start. Pediatr Dent. 2012;34(5):107-111.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.