Study finds disparity in tooth decay rates in Hispanic, non-Hispanic white children

April 23, 2015

A recent national survey conducted by the CDC revealed that 26 percent of Hispanic six- to nine-year olds suffered from untreated tooth decay, compared with 14 percent of non-Hispanic white children of the same age, revealing a major gap in access to oral health care for Latino children.

A recent national survey conducted by the CDC revealed that 26 percent of Hispanic six- to nine-year olds suffered from untreated tooth decay, compared with 14 percent of non-Hispanic white children of the same age, revealing a major gap in access to oral health care for Latino children.

Washington Dental Service Foundation engaged a northwest multicultural marketing firm and a research company to further understand how this affects Washington State Latino communities. Latina Creative Agency and Washington Dental Service Foundation will present findings and best practices at the 2015 National Oral Health Conference, which takes place April 20-27, 2015 in Kansas City, MO.

In 2014, Washington Dental Service Foundation, DHM Research and Latina Creative Agency designed and conducted English and Spanish-language focus groups around the Seattle area and in eastern Washington. The goal was to gain a better understanding of the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding oral health among low- to moderate-income Latina mothers and teenagers. The main issues discovered include low dental utilization, social barriers, language, affordability of insurance, fear of deportation, as well as fear of public assistance affecting residency.

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Latina Creative Agency Co-Founder and Principal, Cynarah Ellawala will join Senior Program Manager at Washington Dental Service Foundation, Laura Flores Cantrell, JD, and Adam Thompson DDS from Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic on a panel discussion entitled “Latino Children’s Oral Health Opinion Research & Model Program.” The panel will highlight the best practices for Latino opinion research and focus group design based on recent focus groups conducted by Latina Creative Agency on behalf of Washington Dental Service Foundation. Cynarah Ellawala will discuss:

Strategies to respectfully engage with the Latino community

Recruiting strategies that build trust within the Latino communities

Elements of an interview guide

Bilingual moderator techniques

Research design considerations

Ellawala is a northwest multicultural marketing expert and was selected based on her experience soliciting input from the Latino community. She also has experience working on multicultural and diversity campaigns/projects for the University of Washington, The Clorox Company and Microsoft.  

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“As a multicultural marketing company we aim to help our clients understand this segment's needs, support research and design campaigns that respectfully communicate with this segment. With a growing number of Latinos both nationally and in Washington State there is an urgent need for organizations to understand how to effectively engage with this community,” said Ellawala. “I am looking forward to presenting best practices for recruiting and moderating focus groups in Spanish that elicit meaningful input.”

The National Oral Health Conference features a variety of educational sessions that will focus on issues and topics relevant to research, policy, programs and community-based care. The conference is targeted towards health professionals including dentists, dental hygienists, researchers, dental/health educators, students and public health officials to name a few. The conference has an expected participation of over 800 attendees and 30 exhibitors over the five days of programming.

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