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Dental Baby Day Clinics Offering Vaccines to Youngest Clients

Friday, October 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Aron Goffin, MPH

Integrated Clinical Services, Dental Program
Multnomah County Health Department

Multnomah County Health Centers, located throughout the Portland metro area, operates 7 primary care clinics, 6 dental clinics and 10 student health centers. Together, the health center program serves approximately 75,000 patients, about 4,000 of which are under the age of 4. As part of an exciting collaborative project, a dental "Baby Day" clinic recently began offering vaccines on site to children age 0-3 upon completion of their dental visit. The two year project, sponsored by CareOregon Dental, aims to improve care coordination and the patient experience.

The county Baby Day program saw approximately 4,500 visits last year. A recent analysis found that nearly 20 percent of children seen at the Baby Day program were not up-to-date on needed vaccines, such as Hepatitis A or Diptheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis (DTaP). This project strives to make it easier for parents to get children back on schedule, without making additional medical appointments. The goal for the first year of the project is to vaccinate 80 percent of the children eligible for vaccines.

“It not only helps us cut down on the amount of time our clients need to be at our clinics,” said Courtney Kappes, who oversees the School & Community Oral Health Program. “But it helps us strengthen communication between our own dental and primary care programs. It’s a win-win.”

The Dental Baby Day program provides a clinic-like setting where children are familiarized with the dental environment, screened for dental problems, and receive services from providers including oral health assessments and fluoride treatments. Parents receive oral health education and participate in goal setting on topics such as brushing, nutrition and bottle use.

“The last decade or so has centered on the integration of dental services into the primary care setting,” said Aron Goffin, Senior Program Specialist and immunization integration project manager. “While that is still important, we also need to offer as many services to patients as we can, in as many settings as we can. The Baby Day program offers a great environment to reach lots of little ones at once.”


Summer Johnson, Certified Medical Assistant, Dental Baby Day Program

Summer Johnson, the CMA leading the initiative, has already vaccinated 23 children in just a few days, with two parents opting in on the spot. Immunizations are offered to all Baby Day patients who are established with a primary care provider at a Multnomah County clinic and who are missing necessary immunizations. A mom of two older children herself, Summer remembers the early years of juggling multiple appointments and immunizations. “With everything that happens in a parent’s day to day life, it’s easy to get behind on vaccines. I’ve already heard from several parents that they have one less thing to worry about - this program has been well received.” Summer is also scheduling patients for routine check-ups if she notices they are overdue. Parents may refuse to be vaccinated, but so far that has only happened a handful of times. For those who do, they are offered vaccine education over the phone or in person, and an appointment with their primary care provider. 

Please contact Aron Goffin with questions at aron.goffin@multco.us.




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