The CAN DO Center – UCSF School of Dentistry

can-doThe Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health, the “CAN DO” Center, is a multi-project research Center funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The primary focus of the center is preventing Early Childhood Caries (ECC). Their mission is to identify cultural, environmental, workforce, behavioral, and biologic factors associated with health disparities among ethnic/racial groups in the very diverse California environment;
To enhance our ability to target children likely to be at risk for dental caries
To provide successful interdisciplinary interventions to prevent disease and reduce oral health disparities.
The CAN DO Center uses a multi-level conceptual model to investigate and understand the problem of oral health disparities in young children from many perspectives including those of the child, family, community and environment, over time.
The CAN DO Center was first funded in 2001 and was re-funded in 2008 for another 7 years.

Main Projects:

Project 1: Fluoride Varnish Reach in Early Childhood (FV REACH)
Project Principal Investigator: Margaret Walsh

The “FV REACH” Project will identify the most effective setting (medical, social service agency or dental) to disseminate FV to the greatest number of 1-3 year old children. Stratifying on setting, a parallel groups practical group randomized RCT will be conducted in community-based settings comprising:

(a) primary care clinics (CPCCs) from the UCSF primary care collaborative research network, and
(b) California Special Supplemental Nutrition Programs for Women, Infants and Children (WICs).

Each non-dental site (CPCC or WIC) will be randomized to either a program of parental counseling and onsite FV application or to parental counseling and referral to a dentist for child’s FV application. This project will also compare two counseling methods, including an automated telephone counseling approach, and utilize teledentistry technology for blinded caries assessments.

Project 2: Glass Ionomer Sealant and Fluoride Varnish Trial (GIFT)
Project Principal Investigator: Francisco Ramos-Gomez, UCLA School of Dentistry

“GIFT” is a randomized clinical trial of four caries-prevention protocols to compare their relative efficacy among 3-6 year-old children from low-income families: The children and caregivers will be randomized to one of these four groups to receive dental screenings and referral, and:

1) parental oral health counseling alone
2) counseling and fluoride varnish
3) counseling and fluoride-releasing, self-bonding glass ionomer occlusal sealants applied to primary molars
4) counseling, fluoride varnish and glass ionomer sealant.

The study will take place in a dental and non-dental setting, both affiliated with Federally Qualified Health Centers near the US-Mexico border- the San Ysidro Health Center and La Maestra Health Center in San Diego County.