The COHI Aide works collaboratively with the dental therapist/ dental hygienist, helping create more effective linkages between community members and the oral health care system.
Evaluation of COHI requires an understanding of both its short and long-term objectives.
COHI is overseen nationally by the Oral Health Promotion Officer and National Dental Therapy Advisor, both based in the Office of Primary Health Care, Ottawa, ON.
COHI was piloted in 41 communities in 2004 in seven regions across Canada: 10 in Atlantic Canada; 4 in Quebec; 11 in Ontario; 3 in Manitoba; 6 in Saskatchewan; 4 in Alberta; and 3 in British Columbia.
During the 2012 programmatic year, 23,585 children had received at least one COHI service; 21,085 had been screened; 22,245 had received at least one fluoride varnish; 2,853 had received at least one sealant; and 1,071 had been treated with ART.
As of 2013, the national COHI workforce consisted of 115 dental therapists, 70 dental hygienists and 222 COHI aides.
COHI has avoided the usual fate of a program with limited or short-term funding.
The COHI program was designed to ultimately empower communities by using a participatory planning approach.
23) The COHI aides extended the reach of the program beyond the abilities of externally contracted dental hygienists/therapists.