Motivational interviewing training to promote Head Start children's adherence to oral health care recommendations: results of a program evaluation


Dr. Paul F. Cook, College of Nursing, University of Colorado, 13120 E. 19th Ave., Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Tel.: 303-724-8537; Fax: 303-724-8560; e-mail: Paul F. Cook is with the College of Nursing, University of Colorado. Gloria Richardson is with Denver's Great Kids Head Start. Anne Wilson is with the School of Dental Medicine, University of Colorado.


Objectives: Motivational interviewing (MI) is a research-supported, patient-centered counseling technique to support health behavior change. We evaluated training to help teachers use MI for oral health promotion in a multi-site, diverse, urban Head Start organization.

Methods: MI training was evaluated based on the intervention's reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance.

Results: MI was introduced to 150 Head Start staff and 32 received intensive training. Trainees had greater knowledge and willingness to use MI 6 months after training than non-trained staff, and reported increased use of MI-consistent counseling techniques. Additionally, the rate of completed dental visits improved slightly across all families served by this Head Start program after teachers used MI with a subset of families. Maintenance is likely based on ongoing organizational interest.

Conclusions: Trainees reported successfully using MI techniques in this community-based educational setting. Additional efforts are needed to increase the reach of training and to ensure sustainability.