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International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2013, Article ID 498906, 7 pages
Research Article

Chapter Oral Health Advocates: A Nationwide Model for Pediatrician Peer Education and Advocacy about Oral Health

1Division of General Pediatrics, University of Washington and Craniofacial Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2Division of Pediatric Practice, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, USA
3Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
4Department of Pediatrics, Dartmouth Medical School and New Hampshire Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency Program, Concord, NH 03301, USA
5Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Received 22 April 2013; Revised 31 July 2013; Accepted 29 August 2013

Academic Editor: Robert Schroth

Copyright © 2013 Charlotte W. Lewis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. (1) To describe an innovative program training US pediatricians to be Chapter Oral Health Advocates (COHAs). (2) To provide insight into COHAs’ experiences disseminating oral health knowledge to fellow pediatricians. Patients and Methods. Interviews with 40 COHAs who responded to an email request, from a total of 64 (62% response). Transcripts were analyzed for common themes about COHA activities, facilitators, and barriers. Results. COHAs reported positive experiences at the AAP oral health training program. A subset of academic COHAs focused on legislative activity and another on resident education about oral health. Residents had an easier time adopting oral health activities while practicing pediatricians cited time constraints. COHAs provided insights into policy, barriers, and facilitators for incorporating oral health into practice. Conclusions. This report identifies factors influencing pediatricians’ adoption of oral health care into practice. COHAs reported successes in training peers on integrating oral health into pediatric practice, identified opportunities and challenges to oral health implementation in primary care, and reported issues about the state of children’s oral health in their communities. With ongoing support, the COHA program has a potential to improve access to preventive oral health services in the Medical Home and to increase referrals to a Dental Home.