South Australian Dental Service
Aims or brief descriptions: The aim of the Aboriginal Liaison
Program is to improve oral health outcomes for eligible Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people in South Australia by increasing the number who access
mainstream dental services through a community development process. The program
began in late 2005.
The primary objective of the Aboriginal Liaison Program is to refer eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults for priority emergency and general dental care at one of four participating sites. Aboriginal Health Workers have been involved with referral of clients to their local SA Dental Service Community Dental Clinic based on an Oral Health Assessment. An Aboriginal Liaison Officer has been established at each dental clinic to assist with the appointment of clients. SA Dental Service staff in the pilot sites have attended Cultural Awareness Training.
Since 2005, 232 Aboriginal adults have had an Oral Health Assessment. Of these clients, 223 have been referred for priority dental care and 167 have started a course of care. Liaison Officers have attended Aboriginal community events and group meetings. Cultural Awareness Training has been provided to 68 SA Dental Service Staff.
Implementation of the Aboriginal Liaison Program has resulted in the improved oral health status for the people who have received priority dental care. The referral system’s success has been due to the strength of the partnership between the SA Dental Service and the Aboriginal Community Health Services. Liaison Officer Staff have helped to increase confidence in mainstream dental services. Further improvement will be achieved by continuing work in the existing sites, expanding to other areas of the SA Dental Service and consulting further with local community members.
SA Dental Service
Parks Community Health Care Centre
Port Adelaide Community Health Care Centre
Muna Paiendi Health Service
Noarlunga Health Care Centre
SA Aboriginal Sports Training Academy
Contact person for further information
Cathy Nelson and Janice Braun
Aboriginal Liaison Project Officers
SA Dental Service
Health Promotion Unit
180 Flinders Street
Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: 8222 9013
Website link: www.sadental.sa.gov.au
Rural Health Education Foundation - Open Wide: Oral Health in the Bush
The program explores the special circumstances faced by people living in rural and remote areas, where dental workforce shortage is particularly acute. It highlights the need for expanded primary health care services, including preventive approaches to good oral health, and broad-based oral health promotion activities.