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SUHI Project: Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Statewide Oral Health Assessment



Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation Statewide Oral Health Assessment​


In order to gain a better understanding of the oral health landscape in Illinois, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF), in collaboration with Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation and Michael Reese Health Trust, have contracted with Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) and demography experts, Rob Paral and Associates (RPA), in a 1-year project (2015-2016) to conduct a statewide oral health assessment. It is a full-scale needs assessment to understand the complex drivers of oral health diseases and patterns in morbidity and preventive screenings (or lack thereof) among children in Illinois.

The assessment team will employ a variety of unique mapping and qualitative research tools to identify community-level resources that may be available to help combat and reduce the growing burden of oral health disease in underserved areas. The goal of the assessment is to identify resources (capacity and utilization both by children and adults), gaps in the provision of oral health services, and the current oral health status of children throughout the state. Through this work, SUHI and RPA will help the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to reach its stated goals of:

  • Quantifying progress toward achieving oral health in Illinois
  • Informing funding and programmatic efforts
  • Identifying potential models for collaborative efforts
  • Providing granular data on oral health in Illinois down to the level of local communities

SUHI and RPA will secure the necessary data, synthesize the findings, and create a final report that will include recommendations that can be used by ILCHF and stakeholders to improve oral health in Illinois. SUHI and RPA will convene an advisory board of oral health professionals and experts, key stakeholders, and members of consumer groups from across the state to provide guidance on data collection, analysis, and dissemination, as well as the development of recommendations to create actionable change to address gaps in oral health across the state.  

Project Plan:

This assessment will be achieved through a four-step approach as follows:

  1. Develop an Oral Health Advisory Board
  2. Secure and analyze quantitative data
    1. Create an inventory of access points and capacity
    2. Assess the overall health status of IL children
    3. Conduct a workforce inventory of oral health providers
    4. Compile data on Medicaid for children and adults by county/Chicago community area
    5. Determine demographics by County/Chicago Community Area
    6. Secure additional data available to create a complete picture of oral health throughout Illinois
  3. Collect and analyze qualitative data via focus groups and key informant interviews
  4. Synthesize findings, create recommendations, and disseminate findings

Project Updates: