Forsyth's global connections range from broad new prevention and education initiatives in Latin America to a longstanding clinical program for children in Kuwait, from research connections with colleagues in every corner of the world.
Responding to a Nation's Needs
The Forsyth Institute has provided preventive dental care to the children of Kuwait for more than 30 years. In 1983 The Forsyth Institute was invited by the Kuwait government to develop a demonstration program in oral health care and education for Kuwaiti school children. The program is featured on the World Health Organization website.
Providing Care in Clinics and Schools
The program funded by the Kuwait government provides dental screenings, prevention services and education. Initially the Kuwait/Forsyth program made use of a modified school-based model in which comprehensive dental care was offered in a clinic dedicated to the program, employing Forsyth-trained Kuwaiti dentists and dental assistants. Children were given appointments in the schools and came to the clinic after the school day with their parents. This provided an additional opportunity for educating and involving parents in their children's oral health.
In the schools, the children received dental health education in the classrooms. The program also provided outreach and education to families using both oral presentations and printed educational materials designed or modified for the Kuwait program by the Forsyth team.
The program was expanded to the Jahra in1994. Because Jahra is rural in character and has a substantial nomadic population, the challenges of establishing and running a children's oral health program were greater in this geographic area. Buoyed by the success of the program, however, Forsyth moved ahead in Jahra, building on their experience in the Capital Governorate. (Governorates are country subdivisions.) To meet the needs of this area, a school-based model was chosen with dental care delivery at the school sites. Additionally, a free-standing comprehensive children's dental clinic was built in Jahra, providing dental care every day, at all hours of the day.
Comprehensive Services to Prevent Oral Disease
Over the next six years, the Jahra program grew and flourished, and in 1998 Forsyth was asked to take over the direction of oral health programs operating in the remaining governorates of Kuwait. The Kuwait/Forsyth program focuses on kindergarten and elementary schools – in the belief that oral health knowledge and a strong prevention regimen early in life will promote good oral health throughout life.
The program now continues without interruption throughout the summer, providing both regular and emergency care for children at the designated centers. The Kuwait/ Forsyth program operates in 40 clinics at four centers and 100 school clinics throughout Kuwait. Approximately 225,000 school children receive services from the program. A dental van also supports educational efforts, providing information to the general public regarding oral health in markets, malls and public gathering places.
The Forsyth Institute has worked to prevent oral disease in Kuwait through service, research and education. This international partnership has reduced the incidence of caries among Kuwaiti children, as well as reducing dental abscesses, pain, school absenteeism and the long-term costs of care.
The Kuwait Healthy Life Study
Forsyth has worked with The Dasman Diabetes Institute and the Kuwait/Forsyth School program to conduct a clinical investigation of the development of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in Kuwaiti children. In this study now entering its fourth year, the body weight, height, blood pressure and fitness are measured, oral disease is evaluated, nutritional information is collected, questionnaires on sleep and medical history are answered and saliva is collected for analysis. The Kuwait Healthy Life Study, (KHLS) is a longitudinal cohort investigation of more than 8,000 children.