To assess the oral health (OH) needs and barriers to OH care in Gullah African American communities.
A community advisory board was formed to guide the research study. Five focus groups (n=27) were conducted to explore the OH needs/barriers. Participants completed demographic surveys and participated in discussions facilitated by open-ended questions. All sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using NVivo8.
Facilitators of OH included positive experiences and modeling. Fear and access to care were the most cited barriers. Tooth extraction was the dental treatment of choice. Intervention recommendations included improving clinic access, using the churches to socially influence receipt of OH care, providing group educational sessions with OH specialists, and having local “lay people” to provide support and to help navigate OH care systems.
The design of a multi-level culturally and locally relevant intervention may lead to a decrease in OH disparities in Gullah communities.