The US Oral Health Workforce in the Coming Decade

By: Institute of Medicine

This is archived content; for historical reference only.

The nation’s current oral health workforce fails to meet the needs of many segments of the population, particularly those in rural and other underserved areas.

Challenges include a lack of coordination and integration among the oral health, public health, and medical health care systems; misaligned payment and education systems that focus on the treatment of disease rather than prevention; the lack of a robust evidence base for many dental procedures and workforce models; and regulatory barriers that prevent the exploration of alternative models of care.

Institute of Medicine

With support from the California HealthCare Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration, on February 9–11, 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a workshop to consider:

  • What is the current status of access to oral health services?
  • Which workforce strategies hold promise to improve access?
  • How can stakeholders improve the regulations and structure of oral health care delivery to improve access?

A two-page summary, along with the full report, is available on the Institute of Medicine site through the External Link below.

Journal of Public Health Dentistry

In addition, a special June 2010 issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry takes a deeper look at many of the topics raised by the IOM workshop, including how well the oral health care delivery system meets the needs of specific populations and the role that the workforce can play in improving the care delivery model.

Topics include:

  • Improving oral health care delivery systems through workforce innovations
  • Attributes of an ideal oral health system
  • Oral health disparities and the workforce
  • Private sector approaches to workforce enhancement

The complete article is available on the Journal of Public Health Dentistry site through the External Link below.