Formative Activities

Entering Potential Research Buildings

A major focus of our work has been on establishing entry into low income senior housing at 24 buildings in Hartford, Meriden and New Britain as the basis for further research and intervention studies on oral health among older adults and people with disabilities.  Gaining entry is a challenging task that involves working with building management and extant resident committees. It is labor intensive but once successful, provides ongoing entry into project buildings so that partnerships with buildings for future research efforts can be established. A highly experienced team of two senior research educators with masters degrees in education and social work approached 20 buildings, and established ongoing relationships with management and residents of 13 buildings in Hartford (6), Meriden (3) and New Britain (4).  Either alone or accompanied by other members of the project team (PIs, dental geriatrician/health education expert, and dental residents) they conducted 13 presentations with residents in 11 buildings on the objectives of Project Good Oral Health. Two of these presentations were repeat visits to two buildings to encourage more diverse representation of residents.  Informal presentations were also conducted in two other buildings to elicit wider participation in repeat visits. 

Building Demographics: 

  • 64% – Private 
  • 36% -Public
  • 52% – Hispanic
  • 29% – African- American/Caribbean
  • 19% – Non-Hispanic White 

Preparation of Oral Health Education Materials.

Educational materials based on a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) format were developed in collaboration with residents in two buildings: one predominately English-speaking and in one predominately Spanish-speaking (see Appendix for FAQs booklets). Each group developed teamwork guidelines, learned mainstream oral health practices and shared their own practices/belief systems.  Residents brainstormed questions and used pile sorting to analyze, cluster and discuss results.  Questions were grouped and labeled, and collapsed into 12 English-language and 17 Spanish-language FAQs.  Residents worked with a dentist to formulate accurate FAQ answers and a cartoonist to generate images representing each FAQ. The process was inclusive, addressing variations in culture, language, literacy, and physical ability.

Preparation of Other Materials

Through the resources provided by this grant, we were able to make research connections described above in the Greater Hartford/Meriden area. Residents in two buildings worked with research staff to integrate their understandings of oral health with science-based expertise, formulating a series of FAQs and culturally congruent responses in English and Spanish with illustrations. We also worked with residents of four buildings in a formative research process to develop survey materials, clinical assessment procedures and an adapted motivational intervention with practice to mastery (AMI-PM.

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