Case Synopsis

Oral health is a major indicator for overall health; however, it is not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), making oral health care relatively inaccessible to a large population. A large and diverse municipality has recently conducted a needs assessment that shows that there is a need to improve accessibility to dental care for its citizens. A Community Health Centre (CHC) spearheaded the development of an oral health coalition to help unify and steer the direction of oral health care in the region. The goal of the coalition is to bring oral health to the forefront of healthcare. Under the supervision of the CHC’s CEO, a health promoter, Emily, and a Master of Public Health candidate, Nick, must help inform and develop the oral health coalition through a steering committee. This set-up is based on the American example of state-wide oral health coalitions. With the guidance of regional oral health leadership, Emily and Nick must develop a stakeholder engagement plan which identifies key stakeholders, a purpose, and terms of reference for the coalition, all with backing from the literature and other oral health coalitions.

The goal of this case is for the reader to practice skills in identifying a broad base of stakeholders, engagement, and health promotion strategies and in developing multidisciplinary work. Through the development of the case, readers will work in groups to determine appropriate stakeholders and the utility of coalition building. These skills relating to stakeholder engagement, critical thinking, and planning in a multidisciplinary team can be used in multiple areas of public health when needing to garner a broad-base of support for programs or initiatives for policy change.

Case Objectives

  1. Develop a stakeholder analysis and engagement plan.
  2. Apply health promotion strategies to help the community improve their oral health (Health Belief Model).
  3. Understand the importance of coalition building and multidisciplinary team work by identifying methods of improving health equity and the relevant social and cultural determinants of health that can be targeted.

Case Study Questions

  1. What key stakeholders did your team identify?
    a. Why are they important members for the coalition?
    b. How would you go about engaging them?
  2. What is the utility of an oral health coalition?
  3. How would you organize and facilitate development of the coalition?
  4. Should the region make oral health a priority?
    a. How would they go about it?
    b. From the team perspective, would an oral health coalition improve oral health outcomes in the region?


oral health, coalition, collaboration, health promotion, health equity

Additional Author Information

Mark Gera, BA, MPH

Lindsey Farias, CDA, Manager, Health n’ Smiles

Edesiri Udoh, BDS, MPH, Health Promoter

Gerald McKinley, PhD, Assistant Professor



Recommended Citation

Gera, M., Farias, L., Udoh, E., McKinley, G. (2018). Making Oral Health Care More Palatable. in: McKinley, G. & Sibbald, S.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2018. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.