Assess the Environment

Whether a SBHC is in the planning phase or well on its way to integrating sustainable comprehensive oral health services into primary care, assessing the environment in which the center operates is critical. Looking at the burden of oral disease among the target population, community readiness, local demographics, and existing school- or community-based oral health services enables SBHCs to identify their place within the community and complement rather than duplicate others' efforts. Assessing the financial environment encourages SBHCs to analyze their resources and understand what funding may be available now and in the future. Analyzing the political environment helps them navigate the political atmosphere within the community. Assessing the organizational environment (i.e., leadership, staffing, infrastructure) helps them more effectively integrate sustainable comprehensive oral health services into primary care.

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Action Steps

  • Embed continuous assessments of the financial, political, and organizational environments throughout the life of the program's services.
  • Identify focus areas for conducting environmental assessments.
  • Use information gathered.

Highlights from the SBCOHS Grant Program

  • Bassett Healthcare Network (NY) realized that the oral health services offered did not meet the needs of its enrolled students, re-evaluated its community assessment, and adjusted services offered accordingly.
  • Data from Summit Community Care Clinic's (CO) adaptations to its Dentrix system enabled the SBHC to evaluate its outreach efforts and determine prevention and restorative services capacity, accurately assess staff productivity, and predict program income based on screening results.
  • Solano Coalition for Better Health's (CA) assessment of its target community indicated high unmet oral health care needs among students and their families. As a result, the SBHC provided care to students enrolled in the SBHC, their siblings, and children from birth to age 5 participating in nearby school-readiness programs.

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