Usefulness of a local oral health survey in program development.
In 1986, the Columbus (Ohio) Health Department conducted an oral health survey of children in grades 1, 2, 6, and 7. The World Health Organization's Pathfinder methodology served as the basis for survey design. The survey was made possible through collaboration and sharing resources among the local and state health departments and two universities. The findings of the children's portion of the survey proved useful in program planning, marketing (including resource procurement), constituency building, and educating the dental profession and the public. The data were used to support successful grant requests that led to the implementation of a school-based dental sealant program. The local government expanded the health department's dental budget to continue the sealant program beyond the grant period. The state health department considered the survey to be a pilot for a statewide effort.