Research excellence

Healthy Families Healthy Smiles

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Healthy Families, Healthy Smiles (HFHS) is a Victorian state government initiative implemented by Dental Health Services Victoria  (DHSV) which aims to improve the oral health of Victorian children aged 0-3 years and pregnant women. The evaluation of HFHS is being conducted by the Centre for Applied Oral Health Research.

The initiative includes a dedicated health promotion team devoted to planning, piloting and implementing a range of projects and activities with a variety of health and early childhood professionals.

Research evidence for oral health promotion in pregnancy and early childhood suggests building the competencies (skills, abilities, knowledge and values) of health and child care workers as a potentially effective approach to promoting the oral health of young children. To achieve this, some of the approaches taken by the HFHS initiative include: establishing networks and partnerships, testing interventions, providing training and education packages,and development of policies and resources.

Current activities include:

  • Midwives promoting oral health during pregnancy - Midwifery Initiated Oral Health e-learning program
  • Tooth Packs project - providing fluoride toothpaste and toothbrushes in high needs communities through maternal and child health services
  • Baby Teeth Count Too! an oral health promotion education program for early parenting centre staff
  • Bigger Better Smiles for Aboriginal Health Services
  • Oral health promotion resource kit for early childhood professionals
  • Supporting dietitians to include oral health in their work
  • Supporting pharmacists to include oral health in their work
  • Supporting general practice staff to include oral health in their work
 

Evaluation aim

The aim of this comprehensive evaluation is to examine the impact of the HFHS initiative on the capacity of health and early childhood professionals, services and settings to promote the oral health of both children aged 0-3 years, and pregnant women in Victoria.

The state-wide evaluation examines and assesses the impacts of the initiative through process, impact and outcome components at multiple levels (for each professional group).

A 'logic model' of the HFHS initiative that shows the main activities and the expected impacts and outcomes can be found here.

Methods

The evaluation uses a mixed-methods design including surveys, focus groups and interviews.

Timeframe

The project is being conducted from 2011-2015.

The evaluation results are due to be released in 2015.

For more information, please contact Helen Graesser at helen.graesser@dhsv.org.au