This application describes the SAPNA Oral Health Project, a primary care based intervention designed to improve oral health and prevent dental caries in young children from the Bangladeshi immigrant community, a fast-growing immigrant group from South Asia that has received little attention from researchers. The project will be implemented in a new primary care research network, SAPPHIRE (South Asian Practice Partnership for Health Improvement and Research). Dental caries is a problem affecting the majority of poor and ethnic minority children in the United States. South Asian immigrant children are at particularly high risk for dental caries with rates nearly double that of native populations. A variety of structural factors, including social and economic deprivation, linguistic isolation, and difficulty accessing oral health care, and common South Asian infant feeding practices contribute to this problem.
Specific aims i nvolve the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive oral health pilot intervention, based on Empowerment Theory, directed at Bangladeshi mothers of children aged 6-18 months. All participants (n=75) will receive enhanced usual care in the form of brief educational messages and oral health referrals by the primary care physician. For intervention participants, South Asian Community Health Navigators (CHNs) will provide two sessions of maternal and familial counseling support using an empowerment model that emphasizes the family's strengths, knowledge, and priorities, followed by patient navigation support in making and keeping an oral health visit, and three follow up phone calls to provide support during the twelve month study period. Development and evaluation of this intervention will involve participatory data collection among primary care providers, clinic staff, project team members, field staff, and patients in order to insure the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention. If the project is successful, investigators will apply for funds to conduct a formal test of SAPNA.

Public Health Relevance

South Asians are a rapidly growing group in the United States, but remain understudied. South Asian children experience extremely high rates of childhood caries, due to child feeding practices and oral hygiene, as well as lack of access to oral health care. Culturally appropriate behavioral interventions for South Asians that address childhood caries risk are a vital public health priority. The project described in this application has potential to serve as a model for primary care-community collaborative interventions that can be used in similar culturally and linguistically isolated groups.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Planning Grant (R34)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDE1-JR (17))
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Clark, David
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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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