By Christine Nathe, RDH, MS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal agency that focuses on health promotion and protection, as well as disease prevention and surveillance activities with the goal of improving public health. CDC initiatives have been showcased in numerous public health columns over the years.
The latest resource that can be very helpful for dental hygienists is the CDC Vital Signs monthly report. This report includes an early release of key information from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (often called "the voice of CDC"), a fact sheet and website, a media release, and social media tools. Most materials are available in English and Spanish.
This month's Vital Signs focuses on dental sealants. The website has patient education information and specific facts for providers and patients. A great visual can be copied to help with patient education and for use on an educational flyer. A downloadable fact sheet on dental sealants is also included. There is also data from informational reports, such as depicted below, in easy-to-read graphics that contain some interesting information, such as the fact that disparities in family income levels of children receiving dental sealants is improving.
The report provides recommendations for state health departments and others, such as school administrators, to increase dental sealant placement. Vital Signs also has a webinar on dental sealants, which can be accessed live or via a recording.
Vital Signs is released the first Tuesday of every month and all hygienists can register to receive it on a monthly basis. So please use this multifaceted resource when developing programs or talking to your patients. It's just one more resource to help us promote health and prevent disease! RDH
CHRISTINE NATHE, RDH, MS, is director at the University of New Mexico, Division of Dental Hygiene, in Albuquerque, N.M. She is also the author of "Dental Public Health Research" (www.pearsonhighered.com/educator), which is in its fourth edition with Pearson. She can be reached at [email protected] or (505) 272-8147.