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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: Oral Health in Childhood

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young girl receiving oral health examCaregiver/Parent Education/Counseling

MCH Strategy. Share postcards or conduct motivational interviews with families that focus on the importance of dental enrollment and how to set up appointments.

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Overview. Providing education, educational material (such as postcards with information), and/or motivational interviewing have been shown to improve utilization of dental services, but more research is needed to confirm positive outcomes.1

Evidence. Emerging Evidence. There is some recent evidence of the effectiveness for caregiver education/counseling related to oral health. More research is needed for conclusive results; however, the peer-reviewed literature on education/counseling related to similar topic areas is promising and strongly indicates that this approach would prove effective for this topic area and population group. Access the peer-reviewed evidence about caregiver education or counseling through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. Caregiver/parent.

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 8 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 strategy “Share postcards or conduct motivational interviews with families that focus on the importance of dental enrollment and how to set up appointments,” 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 caregivers who receive postcards with information on dental enrollment and appointments.

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

  • Percentage of caregivers who receive postcards with information on dental enrollment and appointments.

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

  • Number of caregivers who receive postcards with information on dental enrollment and appointments and followed through with a dental visit for their child within the last 6 months.

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

  • Percentage of caregivers who receive postcards with information on dental enrollment and appointments and followed through with a dental visit for their child within the last 6 months.

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 Dela Cruz A, Mueller G, Milgrom P, Coldwell S. A community-based randomized trial of postcard mailings to increase dental utilization among low-income children. J Dent Child (Chic). 2012;79(3):154-158.

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.