Community Health Organization

What Community Health Organizations Can Do

Focus Area 1: Workforce

  • Examine oral health data, identify gaps in services, and develop recommendations to meet community needs to mobilize others to take action.
  • Develop relationships/partnerships with private practice dentists in the community and robust referral networks.
  • Collaborate with community dentists and dental hygienists to ensure that they accept Medicaid and CHP+.
  • Collaborate with the Colorado Association of School-Based Health Care (CASBHC) to discuss ways to meet the oral health workforce in their communities (e.g., school-based health centers, especially those located in rural areas).
  • Identify continuing education opportunities, including cultural competency, for dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and receptionists.
  • Educate the public, providers, policy makers, government, funders and other oral health advocates about critical oral health staffing needs and gaps in various communities.
  • Volunteer to participate in pilot projects that can assess the feasibility, cost-effectiveness and health outcomes of innovative and effective workforce solutions.
  • Create and support venues for oral health providers to network and share best practices around current and emerging issues including the oral health care team, training opportunities for oral health professionals, effective use of electronic dental records, oral health integration and the health care home model.
  • Expand the provision of oral health services in school-based health centers.
  • Consider expansion of oral health components in wellness and urgent care centers.
  • Increase opportunities for primary care providers to receive continuing medical education credit for participating in trainings on oral health screenings and assessments.
  • Promote and support research that examines the impact of preventive oral health care in the primary care setting.
  • Ensure that electronic medical records are integrated with electronic dental records.

Focus Area 2: Infrastructure

  • Engage with local public health agencies to identify opportunities to better serve patients in the community, share data, and collaborate (e.g., Safety Net clinics).
  • Ensure that local health agencies have available patient education resources/tools on oral health, including impact of oral health on physical health.
  • Provide leadership in the provision of quality, affordable evidence-based oral health care.
  • Reach out to other stakeholders in the community to participate in data collection, planning, implementation of creative services, etc.
  • Disseminate information about the benefits of water fluoridation.
  • Educate parents on the benefits of water fluoridation and sealants.
  • Provide sealants (dental providers) or refer for sealants (medical providers) for children as first and second molars erupt.
  • Speak up to combat misinformation promulgated by anti-fluoride advocates.

Focus Area 3: Financing

  • Collect stories from patients about oral health experiences and share with decision-makers and the community.
  • Advocate for insurance equity.
  • Educate policy makers on the need for adult dental services.
  • Participate in pilot projects that explore new models of service delivery and/or reimbursement for adult dental services.

Focus Area 4: Systems of Care

  • Implement Cavity Free at Three in well child care and dental settings.
  • Ensure that high-risk children receive optimal evidence-based care beginning at age 1-year or earlier.
  • Train oral health providers in the California practice model for treating pregnant women and ensure that pregnant women have an opportunity for dental visits early in their pregnancies.
  • Utilize Old Age Pension funding to encourage oral health services for older adults.
  • Ensure training for oral health professionals in the provision of care for older adults.
  • Provide restorative treatment for children who have received preventive oral health services at school.
  • Bridge the gap between oral health and behavioral health (e.g., training for oral health providers on patient relaxation techniques).
  • Prioritize young children into dental care.
  • Use new systems and methods for delivering care that work for infants/toddlers and their families.
  • Receive Cavity Free at Three training updates as needed.
  • Educate professional associations (e.g., the American Association of Pediatricians and the American Academy of Family Physicians) on the role of providers in providing age appropriate oral health exams.

Focus Area 5: Health Promotion

  • Educate students, families, and school staff on the importance of oral health.
  • Provide oral health promotion and connections to dental providers.
  • Collaborate on statewide initiatives to promote oral health and ensure consistent oral health messaging.
  • Expand in-school sealant programs.
  • Provide fluoride varnish for young children based on risk assessment.
  • Include nutrition education and obesity information as part of routine oral health care that is provided to young children and families.
  • Share oral health data about populations served.
  • Provide support/training to non-health organizations for the inclusion of oral health practices.
  • Collect oral health data related to elderly, at-risk populations.

Focus Area 6: Health Equity

  • Establish local data collection standards related to health equity to be shared with the state.
  • Develop ongoing staff training modules that address cultural competency and health equity.
  • Share and use existing data (collecting standard set of demographic data, e.g.: race, ethnicity, SES, LGBT)
  • Participate in identifying the gaps in the existing data and create a plan to fill the gaps.
  • Support local efforts of dentists and dental hygienists who provide oral health education, screening or evaluation for children while they are in school.
  • Advocate for oral health care being provided in schools.


Community Health Organization

Any group that provides, trains for, or advocates for oral health (i.e., safety net organizations, professional health.