Lessons in a Lunch Box
The ADA and The Children’s Oral Health Institute announced that registration for the Lessons in a Lunch Box oral health education program is open at mycohi.org
. The national program was developed in Baltimore, Maryland, to help educate children and their families about the importance of good oral health and meaningful dietary behaviors to help prevent tooth decay and other maladies. The lunch boxes also have materials that encourage children to begin thinking about careers in dentistry. The Children’s Oral Health Institute CEO Winifred Booker, D.D.S., said that she created the program to help empower children to take responsibility for their own dental hygiene and snacking behaviors. “As a pediatric dentist, I was frustrated with what seemed to be the lack of attentiveness by parents and educators to reinforce the oral health prevention messaging we provide to our patients at the biannual check-up appointments,” Dr. Booker said. The ADA Board of Trustees, through an adopted resolution, provided funds to add to the support the lunch box initiative has already received from across the profession. ADA member dentists can register on a first-come, first-serve basis and request the lunch boxes that get distributed at presentations to second- and third- grade students. Since its inception, more than 65,000 lunch boxes have been distributed in elementary schools across the nation through the initiative. The program’s footprint expanded to reach all 50 states in 2017. The funding initiated by Dr. Edgar goes toward the second round of 10,000 lunch boxes to be distributed during the 2024 Sweet 16 celebration of the program, which is currently underway. Lessons in a Lunch Box presentations can be hosted around the country until supplies are exhausted. The Children’s Oral Health Institute charges a handling fee of $295 to ship lunch boxes directly to elementary schools anywhere in the country. This fee can be covered by a sponsoring dental school, dental society or private practice or any philanthropic interest. Dentists and other stakeholders — hygienists, nurses, physicians — can register more than one elementary school. For those interested in sponsoring an elementary school, go to The Children’s Oral Health Institute website
to take a one-hour CE course and learn how to sign up.How to participate:
1. Register an elementary school for the program by going to The Children’s Oral Health Institute website, mycohi.org
. The registration button is on the home page at the very top.
2. The first thing to complete is the permission memo that must be signed by the elementary school principal.
3. Once the registration is complete, and the date of the Lessons in a Lunch Box program presentation at the school has been scheduled, the lunch boxes are shipped directly to the school.
4. The dentist who registers the program is the coordinator and must take a free one-hour continuing education course to understand how to present the program and deliver the content. The course, “Improving Oral Health Literacy: Teaching Primary School Students through the Lessons in a Lunch Box Program,” is offered at dentalcare.com
. Type 456 into the search engine.
5. An important rule of thumb is for every 10 children, there should be at least one volunteer to help them navigate their newly acquired lunchbox and carrot case.