East Grampians Health Service Happy Mouths lead to Happy Kids

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Formed in 1995 by the merger of the Ararat and District Hospital, the Willaura and District Hospital and John Pickford House, East Grampians Health Service (EGHS) is now a leading provider of public health services to communities in western Victoria. The organisation uses an annual operating budget of over $24 million to provide acute medical, surgical, diagnostic, residential and community based services.

In 2012 EGHS introduced Happy Mouths Happy Kids as a pilot program to improve the dental health of children aged between 8-12 years at a disadvantaged school in Ararat. Happy Mouths Happy Kids is an exciting community based program that focuses on teaching messages of good oral hygiene and general health and wellbeing. The program combines education with direct intervention to achieve better health outcomes within the school environment. This year, due to available grants, Happy Mouths Happy Kids will roll out into all other primary schools in the Ararat region. The Eat Well Drink Well Survey, data collection, free annual dental visits, improved lunchbox diets, and the broader replication of the initiative will be markers of success for the 12-month program. Due to this initiative, East Grampians has been recognised as an ABA100 Winner for Community Contribution in The Australian Business Awards 2014.