The Center for Native Oral Health Research – University of Colorado, Denver

cnohr-logo-pagelogoThe Center for Native Oral Health Research (CNOHR), at the University of Colorado, Denver, conducts research aimed at developing culturally acceptable and effective strategies to prevent infectious oral diseases in American Indian and Alaskan Native populations.  CNOHR was established in 2008, with funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and is one of three Collaborating Centers for Early Childhood Caries – along with the CAN DO Center based at the University of California at San Francisco and CREEDD Center based at Boston University.

Research Component 1: Promoting Behavioral Change for Oral Health in American Indian Mothers and Children
Principal Investigator: Terrence Batliner, DDS
The goal of this project is to adapt and test a dental disease prevention strategy for Early Childhood Caries, targeted to mothers of newborns living on a Northern Plains American Indian reservation.  This project will develop a culturally-adapted, client-centered technique called Motivational Interviewing to promote positive oral health behaviors with mothers on behalf of their young children.  Motivational Interviewing supports early implementation of positive oral health behaviors for young children through dialogue with mothers of newborns.  This project will engage mothers in selecting key ways to reduce the risk of tooth decay for their child and will support the development of healthy dental habits to last a lifetime.   Children in the study will be followed for 24 months, and their dental caries scores compared with those of a comparable group of children whose parents received standard recommendations for prevention of caries.  Oral health knowledge and behaviors, and other relevant mediating variables will be examined for the two groups as well.

Research Component 2: Preventing Caries in Preschoolers: Testing a Unique Service Delivery Model in American Indian Head Start Programs 
Principal Investigator: David Quissell, PhD
As an intervention RC2 is focused on strategies for placing powerful disease prevention information and tools in the hands of the community.   The strength of systems for tribal health and child care support this project based in the Tribal Head Start program.  Skill and capacity building efforts will be shared among community members to develop a cadre of Community Oral Health Specialists who will work proactively in their local Head Start centers on a Southwestern American Indian reservation to deliver health promotion and dental disease prevention services.   The demonstration project will implement and evaluate the Community Oral Health Specialists’ delivery of fluoride varnish and oral health promotion when compared to usual care modalities.    Oral health disparities are addressed as we work together to identify and confront the ‘real world’ issues challenging our partners in reservation communities.  Oral health indicators for children in these Head Start Centers will be compared with those of children in comparable Centers receiving usual approaches to caries prevention.