Project to Tackle Oral and Systemic Health Education in Appalachia

Dentistry Today
Photo by Renee Fox.


Photo by Renee Fox.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars leadership program has selected a team from the University of Kentucky to address children’s health and education in Appalachia. The team, which includes a dentist, dietitian, two nurse practitioners, and a clinical psychologist, will receive $525,00 for their “Coordinating Activities to Support Empowerment of Youth (CASEY) Health.” It includes:

The team will develop, coordinate, and evaluate a health education curriculum that empowers children between the ages of 8 and 12 in Casey County, Kentucky, by communicating evidence-based science in an interactive format to make healthy decisions. 

With school officials, members of the community, education experts, and local stakeholders, the team aims to develop a freely available, 10-lesson curriculum that targets healthy decision-making, meets state academic standards, and is used statewide. The curriculum will cover five elements of health, including: 

  • Preventing illnesses, injuries, and risky behaviors
  • Emphasizing the importance of oral health
  • Abstaining from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes
  • Eating healthy and nutritious foods
  • Emphasizing the importance of physical activity.

The team expects its efforts to yield improvements in health beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors at the end of the project and for years to come.

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