ADHA to initiate study of child access issues

March 7, 2005
ADHA's Institute for Oral Health seeks grant proposals for study of dental hygienists' impact on children's access to oral health care.

Grant proposals are being sought for a one-year study of low-income, school-aged children's access to oral health care provided by dental hygienists, a project sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists' Association Institute for Oral Health (IOH).

"Access to care is a key imperative of the U.S. Surgeon General's national oral health agenda," said Tammi O. Byrd, RDH, chair of the IOH and immediate past president of the ADHA. "Many Americans are unable to obtain even routine oral health screenings and preventive services, for reasons ranging from transportation, ability of the caregiver to miss work, proximity to services, lack of insurance and socio-economic status. It's particularly alarming when it comes to our nation's children, who are at risk of suffering a lifetime of health problems linked to poor oral hygiene."

The study will specifically focus on the role played by dental hygienists in states such as Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and Washington that allow direct access to dental hygiene services.. The objective is to collect quantitative data as to the number of children served and the participation rate of dental hygienists, and to gauge the impact of these services on the children's access to oral health care..

"With more than 120,000 registered dental hygienists in the U.S., and the expected 36 percent plus rate of growth in the profession through 2012, we believe dental hygienists are in an excellent position to fill the gap in screenings, services and education. This study is expected to give us a good indication of the extent of the role we could play," said Byrd.

The grant amount is $50,000. Proposals are due June 30, 2005 and the award will be announced no later than Oct. 31, 2005.

For a copy of the RFP for "Measuring Access to Care for Low-Income School Children by Dental Hygienists in States that Allow Direct Access to Dental Hygiene Services" contact: ADHA Institute for Oral Health/Research Grant Review Program, 444 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60611-3980; (312) 440-8944 or via e-mail at [email protected]. The RFP announcement and application are also available online at

The Institute for Oral Health is the foundation of the ADHA, the largest national organization representing the professional interests of the more than 120,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.