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The Smile Vermont campaign, a three-year public awareness initiative partially funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was designed to increase awareness and use of oral health services among participants in Vermont’s insurance program for children, Dr. Dynasaur.
Low-income parents, minority, teen, and special needs populations and participants in Vermont’s insurance program for children experienced many barriers to accessing oral health services. How could our public health and outreach campaign increase awareness and reduce the barriers?
Formative research with emotionally-sensitive populations exposed a lack of awareness of services available and how or when to access oral health services for children, as well as concern about stigma against participants in the Dr. Dynasaur program.
Employ a communications strategy to reach Vermonters with information about how and when to access oral health care for children.
Work with an advisory committee of oral health professionals to develop campaign materials to help parents access oral health services for their children.
Work with the advisory committee of oral health professionals to develop materials to reduce stigma by helping providers and staff to better understand the needs of lower-income and under-served families.
Reach teens through schools and community centers with a giveaway to encourage cleanings and check-ups.
Conduct community events for children (bowling, ice skating, movies) during school vacations in underserved areas to raise awareness of oral health care for children.