The Dental Health Foundation (now the Center for Oral Health), the California Primary Care Association, and the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry (UOP) have partnered to develop an innovative, multi-pronged approach to address the dire workforce issues facing California’s safety net dental providers.

Three-Year Project Goals:

  1. Increase or maintain California’s current oral health workforce by identifying new models of service provision in school-based or community health settings.
  2. Increase the number of high-risk, low-income elementary school children who receive preventive and restorative oral health services.
  3. Provide an affordable training program for the new California oral health license category, referred to as the Registered Dental Assistant in Expanded Functions (RDAEF), to develop a diverse and culturally-competent oral health workforce designed to increase the ability of Community Clinics and Health Centers (CCHCs) to deliver oral health services to California’s most vulnerable populations.

Project Activities:

  1. Develop a school-based/community-based dental prevention and treatment pilot project in four or more counties in California. The initial counties will be Alameda, Lake, Los Angeles, and Tulare, of which two are urban and two are rural. Four pre-identified Federally Qualified Health Centers will provide services to twenty additional elementary schools by the end of Year Two and eight additional CCHCs by the end of Year Three.
  2. Tailor a Healthy Teeth Toolkit web-based application that enables community-based dental programs to collect data and track the delivery of preventive dental services and the oral health status of children, and includes a case management toolset to help coordinate restorative care.
  3. Identify policy barriers and financial feasibility models and create resources for CCHCs to implement new models of service delivery in school- and community-based settings.
  4. Develop a low-cost, culturally-competent curriculum for mid-level allied dental personnel to better reflect California’s rich diversity and to increase capacity of CCHCs to serve high-risk, underserved populations in California.
  5. Identify a Planning and Advisory Committee made up of key stakeholders, such as representatives from program partners and the California Dental Association, Oral Health Access Council, California Indian Health Services, Welcome Back Initiative, California Department of Health Care Services, and other interested individuals.
  6. Pilot the training program and make adjustments to the curriculum as needed.