Welcome to Guardians Receiving Information through Navigators (GRIN)!

GRIN is a professional development course to prepare community health workers (CHWs) to conduct oral health outreach to parents and guardians of Black children and adolescents. Tooth decay is the most common and preventable chronic disease among children in the U.S., afflicting nearly one in four children ages 3 to 5. Additionally Black, low-income populations experience disproportionately high levels of tooth decay compared to non-Hispanic White children.

grin dad and child brushing teeth

GRIN was developed specifically to address these oral health disparities so CHWs’ can help to educate and empower Black parents and guardians to improve oral health outcomes. Through GRIN-trained CHW support, Black parents and guardians will gain knowledge about oral health care and resources, including how to navigate the oral health care system to improve oral health of their children and adolescents. GRIN-trained CHWs will be uniquely positioned to provide high-impact outreach to low-income, Black parents and guardians through the skills they obtain from this culturally appropriate oral health outreach program.

GRIN-trained CHWs will play a vital role in ensuring that low-income Black parents and guardians receive information and available resources by:

  • Providing information and skills building in health literacy and health care system navigation. GRIN-trained CHWs will teach guardians oral health literacy skills to help them better care for their child’s oral health and oral health care system navigation skills to help them find, pay for, and use dental care resources.
  • Identifying barriers to oral health. GRIN will develop CHWs’ skills to conduct a needs assessment to identify clients’ barriers to care.
  • Bridging the gap by connecting to resources. CHWs will become knowledgeable about their communities, resources (e.g., free clinics, dental vans, or Medicaid-approved providers), and additional social services to reduce structural barriers to care.

Program Materials

In the first module, participants will learn about to the mouth, teeth, and surrounding tissues. Upon completion of the module, participants will understand the causes of poor oral health and tooth decay in primary and permanent teeth; the physical, psychosocial, and economic impact of tooth decay on children and their families; and the social determinants of health and oral health disparities among Black children. Additionally, participants will understand the importance of preventing tooth decay and how oral health contributes to overall health and well-being.

In the second module, participants will learn about age specific behaviors related to tooth decay prevention and causes of poor oral health. Participants will understand oral health at each stage of development; detrimental behaviors that lead to tooth decay; and age-appropriate preventive measures for parents guardians and children. Additionally, participants will explore the social determinants of health and oral health disparities among Black children and adolescents.