July 9, 2019 - In This Issue:
Happy Summer!

July 23, 2019 - 10a - 11a:  EI Monthly Webinar - Topic: Oral Health Project

Edith Benisty, Program Director for Kennedy Donovan Center Attleboro EIP
Welcome to Edith Benisty, the New Program Director for Kennedy Donovan Center Attleboro Early Intervention Program! We would like to welcome Edith to her new role as Program Director of KDC Attleboro EI.  Edith graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec with a degree in Occupational Therapy. She started her career in Massachusetts working in an outpatient pediatric setting, hospitals and schools until she discovered the world of EI in 1998. Her passion for EI has driven her professional growth. 

For the past 16 years, Edith has worked at the KDC Attleboro EI Program and developed her skills as an OT specializing in feeding difficulties and sensory processing issues. She gradually took on various leadership roles as the Transition Coordinator, Clinical Supervisor and currently Assistant Director for the last 4 years. In addition, she has presented for the last 5 years at the MEIC conference with a workshop on Picky Eaters. For the last 3 years, she has been a member of the MEIC Conference Planning Committee. Edith is taking over as Program Director due to the retirement of Monica Quinn who has been with the KDC EI program for over 33 years. 

Edith looks forward to working with the amazing clinical staff and to continue to provide quality services to all the EI families. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Edith to her new role as Director!
Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR)
Please Note: Unfortunately, the Division of Early Intervention's contract with the Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR) ended on 6/30/2019. We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the staff at IHR in providing trauma-informed care training as well as motivational interviewing. EI programs may still contact IHR for training and professional development, however the Department no longer has funds to support these requests. 

EI Parent Leadership Project (EIPLP)
The Early Intervention Parent Leadership Project, through the Office of Family Initiatives in the Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition, was pleased to offer 15 parents the opportunity to participate in a pilot training called, Finding Your Footing: Using Your Family Experiences to Improve Systems Change. This training targeted families who were nearing the end of their time in Early Intervention as well as recent EI graduates. It was delivered as an intensive 2-day training with  follow-up half-day sessions to provide additional skill and community building. These half-day sessions will be held every other month, starting this fall. Topics included in the weekend curriculum were Clifton StrengthsFinder, What is Family TIES of MA? Finding Resources, Telling Your Story, Effective Communication, Team Building, and Self-Care.

Evaluations were extremely positive with families stating they left feeling invigorated, energized and informed. This group of families has already indicated their interest in accessing opportunities for leadership by responding to requests for Parent Perspective newsletter articles and participation in PIWI Institute activities.

EIPLP will be providing this training to another 15 parents in the winter or early spring of 2020. Please keep it in mind and be thinking of families who would be interested in, and benefit from, this opportunity.

Please feel free to contact the EIPLP ( eiplp@live.com or 877-353-4757) if you have parents looking to take part in activities that support the EI system.

Early Intervention (EI) Programs Address Oral Health Inequity - Webinar July 23

Black and Hispanic youth experience systemic barriers in accessing dental care, nationally and in Massachusetts (MA), resulting in inequities in oral health.[1] Since 2016, with grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has implemented the Oral Health Equity Project (OHEP) in the pilot communities of Worcester and Holyoke. The goal of OHEP is to increase the percentage of Black and Hispanic children up to age 14 who have had a dental visit in the past 12 months. To accomplish this goal, OHEP developed several successful partnerships, including one with six Early Intervention (EI) programs in the two communities: Criterion Worcester, Pernet, Thom Worcester, South Bay Worcester, Criterion Heritage, and May Center. As part of this project, the six EI programs were expected to participate in the following activities:
  • Oral Health 101 Training: The training curricula included information on oral health issues for children, dental referral procedures, insurance coverage, and community resources.
  • Indirect Referrals: A screening form developed collaboratively between EI pilot sites and OHEP staff prompts staff to ask whether the child had a dental visit in the past 6 months and, if not, to provide them with a list of local dental providers accepting MassHealth developed by OHEP staff.
  • Quality Improvement: Process mapping was conducted with one EI program to identify areas for improvement within the referral process.
  • Review Data: Share data with EI program directors and staff to highlight successes and challenges and to strategize next steps.
Screening: Since August 2018, 1,751 total screening/referral tracking forms have been collected. Of those who had teeth, 61% were in need of a dental visit. There was an increase in the percentage of children seen at 6 months who followed up with dental care after initial EI consultation from 27% in May 2018 to 35% in April 2019 (see figure below).

[1] Petersen, P. E., & Kwan, S. (2011). Equity, social determinants and public health programmes-the case of oral health. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 39(6), 481-487.

Training: In August 2018, the percentage of EI staff who reported being "very comfortable" knowing when a child needs to be seen by a dental provider for preventive dental care was 67% after the training which is an increase over the baseline percent of 40% from July 2017. The percentage of EI staff who reported being "very comfortable" knowing when a child needs to be seen by a dental provider for urgent dental care was 75% which is an increase over the baseline of 26% from July 2017.
In addition to quantitative data, qualitative interviews were conducted with program directors at each of the pilot sites in March and April 2019, and several key themes emerged:
  • Oral Health 101 training helped staff feel more comfortable talking with families and understanding the guidelines.
  • Creating an online module version of the training is helpful as EI Directors could embed into their on-boarding procedures and staff learning events.
  • Resource packet provided to EI staff, which included a list of dental providers in the area that accepted MassHealth, is the most useful tool.
A challenge faced by many EI directors was that many pediatric dental and medical providers still do not recommend that children see a dentist before age 2, even though state and national guidelines for early childhood oral health recommend that they be seen by their first tooth or age 1, whichever comes first. Efforts are underway to educate dental and medical providers about this recommendation, but in the meantime EI providers can educate and provide resources to parents about these recommendations that can be shared with their providers.
OHEP staff and partner programs piloted adding an oral health question, "date of last dental visit," to periodic assessments. If implemented statewide, this would help EI programs:
  1. Assess and track oral health needs and utilization
  2. Provide oral health information and referrals to services
A survey of EI staff was conducted in April 2019, which confirmed that Oral Health 101 training was effective. Of the 34 total respondents, 22 (65%) had participated in the training. Of these, 95% were comfortable knowing when a child needs to be seen by a dental provider for a preventive dental visit. 100% were comfortable in identifying and providing families with educational materials or resources related to oral health when they need them. 91% felt that the oral health equity project gave them the resources they needed to help connect families with dental care in their community.
Next steps:
OHEP is entering its fifth and last grant year in FY2020, and EI Programs will continue to participate in the following activities:
  • Oral Health 101 online training module is in development and will be shared with the hope that all EI sites in MA can embed training into staff on-boarding/hiring processes
  • Develop, disseminate, and maintain a list of oral health resources statewide
OHEP is planning an "Oral Health Summit" tentatively scheduled for May 15, 2020, which hopes to convene a wide range of community partners, including OHEP participants, to share best practices, lessons learned, and an oral health equity model for Massachusetts. We hope to see many EI providers there. Location: TBD.
Helpful links:

1. The Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) has a web page on Oral Health Equity and Social Determinants of Dental Health

2. The American Dental Association has a web page called "Mouth Healthy" with information about Baby Teeth, including videos on why baby teeth matter and when babies should start going to the dentist.  

3. The CDC has a web page on oral health for children with helpful tips.

4. In 2016, Massachusetts released a set of practice guidelines for pregnant women and early childhood. They can be found online here:  Massachusetts Oral Health Practice Guidelines for Pregnancy and Early Childhood.

5. MassHealth dental coverage for children can be found on their website here

Collaboration: Improving Follow-up for Families Impacted by Perinatal Opioid  Use - A Joint Workshop of PNQIN, Early Intervention and Early Head Start 

Please join our statewide workshop on " Improving Follow-up for Families Impacted by Perinatal Opioid Use: A Joint Workshop of PNQIN, Early Intervention, and Early Head Start

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Massachusetts Medical Society - Waltham Woods Corporate Center
Waltham, MA
9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Deadline for Registration
Monday, August 5, 2019
Registration Link:

PIWI Learning Institute - Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA

The DPH EI Training Center (EITC) and UMass Boston are offering a 4-day Training Institute for PIWI Champions, and  Supervisors. The Institute will provide an overview of the Parents Interacting With Infants (PIWI) model, the "why"  behind PIWI, strategies for successful implementation, and opportunities to problem-solve challenging situations. 

The training will take place in Sturbridge at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center. For more information, click here  PIWI Institute Flyer.

BDI-2 Assessment Training Institute - Courtyard in Marlborough, MA

The DPH EI Training Center (EITC) and UMASS Boston have paired up to offer a BDI - 2 Comprehensive Assessment Training  Institute. This opportunity is aimed at building assessment skills and knowledge for EI specialists who are interested in  increasing BDI-2 fidelity of administration at their program. The Institute will include four days of training over four  months. The location of this training will be at the Courtyard by Marriot in Marlborough, MA. 

Learn more by viewing the flyer here, BDI-2 Assessment Training Institute.


Please note: Most forms and materials from the Dropbox have moved over to the new DPH website at mass.gov/dph/earlyintervention. Please use the website to find materials, including brochures.

Specialty Summits
Thanks to all those who participated and presented at the Specialty Summits, held on June 19 - Vision Loss/Deaf and Hard of Hearing and June 20 - Autism!

The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham graciously provided in-kind support both days, that included great space, technology, parking and refreshments! In addition to brief presentations given by all Specialty Providers, attendees heard from current researchers in their respective fields, listened to IGNITE PowerPoint presentations from providers and most importantly, heard from families sharing their stories. Work groups that included EI clinicians and Specialty Providers developed the content that was shared with participants - a great model for best practice and collaboration!

RFI and RFR for Autism Services Update
The Request for Information (RFI) for Autism Specialty Providers was released in May and the 46 responses have been summarized. The intent of the RFI was to collect information that will inform the development of the Request for Response (RFR). Timelines for the RFR are as follows:
  • Release RFR - September 2019
  • Award contracts to Specialty Providers for Autism - January 2020
  • Contracts to begin - July 1, 2020
Please forward any questions about this process to Joan Butterfield,  joan.butterfield@state.ma.us.


Annual Family Income Grid

The 2019 Annual Family Income Grid is now available. Please replace your 2018 Annual Family Income Grid with this new updated version that has been included as a link.


SSI & Public Benefits Training 

Please check out the attached flyer to schedule a SSI & Public Benefits Training for your staff. It's a great, free opportunity to learn about resources available to families. 

Family Resource: 5 Steps for Brain Building

Looking for a great resource to share with families, that is geared for families? Check out this video from Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child called How-to: 5 Steps for Brain Building Serve and Return. It highlights the importance of parent-child interaction in supporting development. As we all know, the parent-child relationship is at the center of our work; it is the child's long-term relationship investment.

# of Attach
EITC newsletter
June EITC newsletter
Emily Webb
DPH Response - Updates on EI Web-based system
DPH Response - Updates on EI Web-based system
Patti Fougere
Error Reports- EIIS           (Sent via SecureMail)
Monthly Error Report FY19
Linda Mosesso
6/14/19 & 6/17/19
Error Reports- Transition   (Sent via SecureMail)
Monthly Transition Error Reports FY 19
Linda Mosesso
6/14/19 & 6/17/19
October 1st Count     (send via Securemail)
October 1st Count
Linda Mosesso
Program Determinations
Program Determinations
Linda Mosesso
Specialty Summit Registration !
Specialty Summit Registration!
Joan Rafferty
2 and links
The Update/ DPH News
DPH EI Update - June 2019
Department of Public Health- Patti Fougere
RE: Join Us for EI Monthly Provider Webinar- June 2019
Julie Longpre

Questions, comments or feedback?

Contact Patti Fougere