The purpose of the application is to request support under the funding opportunity CDC-RFA-DP18-1810 – State Actions to Improve Oral Health Outcomes. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is the state agency that houses the state dental director and is the applicant for this project. Dr. Edward Zapert, Dental Executive Director, will oversee the grant’s activities. FDOH is applying for both component 1 and component 2. Focusing on the four program elements, the Public Health Dental Program (PHDP) intends to evaluate current practices using evaluation consultants, develop work groups and training programs to decrease the amount of dental caries and health disparities in Florida. A total of four new positions will be hired and one consultant will be contracted through this funding opportunity.
The following four program elements listed have multiple objectives that will be implemented over the five-year grant period. 1) Sealants: In Florida, 60 of the 67 counties have a school sealant program through internal or external entities and provided services in 784 schools from 2016-2017. New evaluation staff will assist the sealant coordinator to analyze existing data collected from the programs to evaluate and provide recommendations on data collection and factors for improvement. In addition, a new Sealant Work Group will develop a sustainability plan for programs and develop best practices for programs and new regional trainings will be offered to program staff. 2) Fluoridation: Since 1949, Florida communities have initiated fluoridation and today 24 of the largest 25 water systems have done so. Still, only 77% of the population with access to a community water system receives fluoridated water. The PHDP will conduct assessments to evaluate the infrastructure barriers that prevent the initiation of fluoridation or consistent provision of optimal fluoride levels. The PHDP and partners will assess the training needs of the stakeholders who are essential for fluoridation implementation and then provide training and educational campaigns to water operators, community members, medical/dental professionals and decision-makers on the benefits of water fluoridation. 3) Surveillance: To date several oral health surveillance projects have been completed, including two third-grade basic screening surveys. The PHDP intends to maintain and enhance the present surveillance system through evaluating surveillance project methodologies, expanding efforts to examine the oral health status of adolescents, and improving the dissemination of oral health surveillance data. 4) Medical-Dental Integration: Integrating oral health with chronic disease programs will happen at the state and local level. Alongside, the FDOH’s Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention (BCDP), the PHDP will es
tablish the Florida Chronic Disease and Oral Health Committee to develop a shared strategy to reframe communication of oral health in the context of chronic disease, hold joint education initiatives for dental and medical practitioners, and incorporate oral health education into current diabetes programs. Additionally, a new part-time position will serve as the liaison between the PHDP and the BCDP to further collaboration.