Denver Health Awarded $6.38 million Grant to Lead Effort to Prevent Dental Disease in Children

Study will evaluate outcomes from integrating oral health care with community health center services

August 22, 2019

DENVER – Denver Health, through a Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) cooperative agreement, will establish the Rocky Mountain Oral Health Network (RoMoNOH). This network is a 5-year operation starting in September that will develop, implement and evaluate an integrative approach to align oral health care alongside general family practice and preventative care.

“Dental disease is a major problem impacting children, and most issues associated with it are largely preventable,” said Patricia Braun, MD,MPH, FAAP the grant’s project director. “Our aim is to provide oral health education and preventative checkups in an environment where families are already scheduling visits from family practice offices, to pediatricians and even through prenatal care.”

Through the $6.38 million grant, the RoMoNOH will bring integrated oral health care into 30 clinics throughout Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. The goal is to scale up access in the region to prevent dental disease from leading to further health issues. There will be a focus on primary prevention for children ages 0-2 years receiving health care in community health centers (CHCs).

Because CHCs have a variety of needs and challenges of their own, each site will be outfitted with an option for coordinated, co-located or fully integrated models of service.

“Dental disease is an exceedingly common problem in children, and disproportionally affects those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Holly Frost, MD Assistant Professor, Pediatrics at Denver Health. “This study provides an innovative approach to improving access to oral health care for children by brining dental care and education directly to families at their doctor’s appointments. This is particularly important for children who may have barriers to getting dental care elsewhere, such as transportation difficulties or insurance challenges.”

Key network partners include the University of Colorado Department of Family Medicine, National Network for Oral Health Access, The American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as statewide Primary Care Associations in the four participating states. This network is also partnering with Colorado’s Cavity Free at Three program and Arizona’s FrameShift Group which previously participated in the HRSA Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Initiative.

“This work will be a big, regional and collaborative approach to expand access to important care. Collectively, the RoMoNOH team has decades of experience integrating oral health into primary care visits for pregnant women and children within safety net healthcare systems,” said Dr. Braun.

Three HRSA grants were funded across the three different regions of the country. RoMoNOH represents the western states and will share findings with studies out of New York (Eastern) and Iowa (Midwest).

About Denver Health

Denver Health is a comprehensive, integrated organization providing level one care for all, regardless of ability to pay.

Denver Health provides medical care to nearly one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services.

Back to news