Oral health and dental care are critical to ensuring that children are both healthy and able to effectively learn and grow. Research has demonstrated that when dental problems are left untreated, children experience discomfort and pain that can make it difficult for them to eat, sleep, focus, and learn. As a result, they are more likely to struggle in school and be absent from school and from other activities that support their development.

Many children in the Inland Empire experience limited access to adequate dental care. Among children on Medi-Cal, in particular, the number who have accessed dental services is staggeringly low.

To address the oral health barriers facing the region’s children, First 5 Riverside and co-partner First 5 San Bernardino applied to the Dental Transformation Initiative (DTI) as part of the Medicaid 2020 Waiver from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). With the waiver funds, F5 Riverside and F5 San Bernardino created Inland Empire Smiles (IE Smiles) to pilot and implement innovative oral health programs and service delivery methods. IE Smiles is helping to ensure that there is widespread access to adequate preventive oral health services for children covered by Medi-Cal in the Inland Empire.

VIVA partnered with First 5 Riverside and First 5 San Bernardino to collect qualitative and quantitative data to show the impact of the Inland Empire Smilies pilot as part of the Dental Transformation Initiative (DTI). VIVA created a clear and compelling report to showcase the impact of the pilot program and support IE Smiles partners in communicating the importance of their work.

Key activities of this partnership:

  • Data Analysis
  • Data Collection, Cleaning and Review
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Impact Story Development
  • Report Development and Design