Oral health is a significant concern among vulnerable populations that are plagued by coverage, quality, and payment challenges, as well as by other health issues. Racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in access to preventive dental care and treatment remain a public health challenge. Two of the many challenges to addressing these disparities are the lack of a robust evidence base for many workforce models and regulatory barriers that prevent the exploration of alternative models of care.
Healthforce researchers are evaluating seven workforce innovation models that have the potential to promote prevention and/or achieve improved access to oral health prevention services. Each model will be evaluated for its effectiveness in promoting prevention and its role in contributing to outcomes. Projects will also be assessed for fidelity to the original model, generalizability and replicability, and for potential sustainability.
In addition to individual project evaluations, we will synthesize the findings and offer recommendations for the field based on the overall lessons learned. This evaluation will utilize mixed methods for data collection and analysis. Secondary data will be obtained from the seven programs, Medicaid data, Head Start data, the California Health Interview Survey, and other sources. Data will be drawn from program reports, patient dental records, practice management databases, and claims data. Additional primary data will be collected through surveys and key informant interviews led by UCSF. In addition, the evaluation team will make three-day visits to each project to assist with data collection. The focus of the data analysis will be on individual sites, though there may be opportunities for cluster analyses if sites with similar interventions are selected.