Started in 2006 as a partnership with other area providers, Program to Improve Community Oral Health (PICOH), which is grounded in evidence-based practices and has received national recognition, provides in-clinic oral health prevention and education for children and pregnant women, outreach, and school-based preventive oral health programming.
Through recognition by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, our innovative approaches in our Program to Improve Community Oral Health (PICOH) have been shared nationally. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized PICOH as one of 25 oral health prevention programs nationwide that uses innovative approaches to increase access to preventive oral health care for children. They have named our program as one of twelve promising models nationwide that increase access to preventive oral health care.
Since inception, we have provided preventive care, risk assessment and education in our clinics for approximately 27,400 children and 2,470 pregnant mothers. Through the outreach component, we have provided presentations or informational booths and distributed oral health care kits to over 37,300 parents, pregnant women and children.
PICOH also includes a school-based program that provides education and preventive services, including fluoride varnish and dental sealants. This program currently serves 21 elementary schools and one middle school. Since beginning the sealant program in 2011, we have provided educational events for 13,580 children; screened over 3,250; provided sealants for over 1,840; fluoride varnish for 2,635; and made referrals for treatment for 1,640.
The overall goal of PICOH is to increase access to oral health prevention and education, reduce early childhood cavities, and improve the knowledge of children and pregnant women regarding oral health care and nutrition. The core idea behind PICOH is that preventive and educational services need to be provided in a culturally competent, easily understood, family-friendly manner that encourages long-term behavior change. Our long-term goal is to encourage behavior change that will improve the oral health and overall health of low-income and minority groups over a lifetime.