Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Study protocol

Motivational interviewing with American Indian mothers to prevent early childhood caries: study design and methodology of a randomized control trial

Terrence Batliner1*, Karen A Fehringer1, Tamanna Tiwari1, William G Henderson2, Anne Wilson3, Angela G Brega1 and Judith Albino1

Author Affiliations

1 Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Mail Stop F800, 13055 E. 17th Avenue, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

2 Health Outcomes Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Mail Stop F443, 13199 E. Montview Blvd., Suite 300, Room 342, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

3 School of Dental Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13123 East 16th Avenue, B240, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Trials 2014, 15:125  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-125

Published: 14 April 2014



This randomized control trial assesses the effectiveness of motivational interviewing (MI) to encourage behavior change in new mothers relating to caries prevention when caring for their newborn American Indian (AI) infants and young AI children.


The study is a randomized control trial. We hypothesize that when motivational interviewing is added to enhanced community oral health education services, the new mothers will achieve greater reduction of caries experience in their AI children compared to those who are receiving enhanced community services (ECS) alone. Six hundred mothers or caregivers of AI newborns will be enrolled into the study and randomized to one of the two intervention groups over a two-year period. The children will be followed until the child’s third birthday. A cost analysis of the study is being conducted in tandem with the enhanced community services, motivational interviewing behavioral interventions, and the dental screenings for the length of the study.


The trial is now in the implementation phase and a number of threats to successful completion, such as recruitment and retention challenges in a vast, rural geographic area, have been addressed. The protocol provides a unique model for oral health interventions using principles of community-based participatory research and is currently on schedule to meet study objectives. If the study is successful, motivational interviewing intervention can be applied in AI communities to reduce ECC disparities in this disadvantaged population, with study of further applicability in other populations and settings.

Trial registration, NCT01116726.

Early Childhood Caries; Motivational Interviewing; Oral Health Behavior Change; American Indian; Community-Based Participatory Research