Cedars-Sinai's COACH for Kids and Their Families to increase oral health services for students

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Dental problems are the most commonly cited unmet need among children.

Cedars-Sinai's COACH for Kids and Their Families®, a mobile medical program, has been selected as one of 20 school-based programs nationwide to receive a grant from the National Assembly on School-based Health Care (NASBHC) to increase oral health services to students in underserved communities.

"We're delighted to receive this grant, which enables us to add a vital new component to our oral health services in 14 Los Angeles elementary schools," said Michele Rigsby Pauley, RN, MSN, CPNP, and COACH for Kids and Their Families® program director. "With this new funding, our clinicians will receive additional training, and we'll add a much needed fluoride varnish treatment to our dental services." In response to "so many kids in desperate need for dental care, we added oral health education and services to the COACH for Kids program in 2003," said Rigsby Pauley. "Including a dental hygienist going into classrooms educating young students about proper dental care. Early damage to children's teeth can cause damage to adult teeth."

Cedars-Sinai's COACH for Kids, a program of the Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center, provides no-cost health and social services on a regular basis to schools, shelters and neighborhood facilities in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles.

"One of the most pressing, unmet health needs of children and adolescents that school-based health programs seek to address is oral health," said Linda Juszczak, executive director of NASBHC. "We're excited to offer technical assistance and training to such a diverse group of recipients so that they can address these difficult challenges and keep students healthy and learning." A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, the group aims to expand and strengthen school-based health programs.

Recipients of each $15,000 grant, funded by Kaiser Permanente, will conduct oral health screenings and education, apply fluoride varnish, and ensure treatment for kids with cavities and other dental problems. Clinicians will be trained to administer fluoride varnishes, courtesy of the nonprofit Oral Health America, which is donating 5,000 units of fluoride varnish.

Through providing preventive services such as assessment, screening and fluoride treatment, and creating strong referrals to follow-up dental care, the COACH for Kids program plays a significant role in the oral health of underserved communities of Los Angeles.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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