Category Archives: Dental Pipeline

May 23 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: New Jersey nurses, increasing diversity in dentistry, taxes on alcohol, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

The New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI), a project of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, has graduated its first cohort of doctorally prepared nurses, NJ Spotlight reports. The new graduates are on track to become nursing professors, to help address New Jersey’s staggering 10.5 percent nurse faculty vacancy rate. Read more about the New Jersey Nursing Scholars who graduate this month.

In an op-ed for the Daily Journal, New Jersey Nursing Scholar Marlin Gross, MSN, APN, NP-C, writes, “I’m able to combine my love of nursing practice and education because NJNI put me on a fast track to a master’s degree in nursing… I also benefited from the program’s professional and personal development activities and its many mentoring and networking opportunities. But most importantly, NJNI helped me re-imagine my future. I now see myself as an emerging nurse leader and plan to enroll in a doctorate program in the fall to realize that vision.” Robert P. Wise, FACHE, a member of NJNI’s Leadership Council, also wrote about NJNI in an op-ed for The Times of Trenton.

Insight Into Diversity reports on the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute, an RWJF-funded project led by the American Dental Education Association and the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. It is funding dental schools to create new recruitment projects that will help increase the number of underrepresented students at their institutions. Read a post on the RWJF Human Capital Blog by National Learning Institute Director Paul Glassman.

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May 17 2013
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Expanding Diversity in the Oral Health Workforce

Kim D’Abreu is Senior Vice President for Access, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Policy Center at the American Dental Education Association.  D’Abreu was previously the deputy director for the Pipeline Profession and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.

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Words Matter

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The words we use matter. That’s why the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is shifting the conversation away from the “deficit model” for recruiting students from underserved backgrounds.  ADEA is specifically avoiding language that suggests “the numbers just aren’t there” or “the pool is not qualified.” When we describe underserved students as low-income or less prepared educationally, it suggests that the problem lies with them. It undervalues the students and ignores the wealth that they bring to the table in terms of cultural competence, initiative, and willingness to provide care to communities that need it most. But far worse, the deficit model allows the real institutional obstacles that these students face to remain in place.

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Aug 22 2011
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Increasing Dental Student Diversity Starts With Admission Committees

Although the number of students applying to dental schools has risen in the last decade, the number of minority students has not risen proportionately. Simply increasing the applicant pool does not guarantee that diversity in the student body will increase, because underrepresented students often struggle to compete as the number of applicants increases and other students may have higher grade point averages and Dental Admission Test scores.

In 2005, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Pipeline, Professions, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program, created a workshop program to help dental schools foster admissions practices that increase diversity. To date, nearly half of all U.S. dental schools have hosted the ADEA Admissions Committee Workshop.

Now, to further the reach of these promising practices, with support from RWJF, ADEA has developed a web-based resource to generate discussion among admission committee members and to encourage a more diverse student body. Transforming Admissions: A Practical Guide to Fostering Student Diversity in Dental Students includes information on the importance of diversity in higher education and dentistry, tips and discussion topics for admission committees, and data and resources including PowerPoint slides from the ADEA Admissions Committee Workshop.

“We’ve seen from researchers, educators, policy-makers, and even courts that diversity provides a better educational experience for all students and leads to improved access to care,” ADEA President Leo E. Rouse, D.D.S., said in a statement. “This new tool for ADEA members will aid in admissions and accreditation, processes that are absolutely critical to academic dental institutions.”

Read more about the ADEA Transforming Admissions guide.

Aug 3 2011
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Third in a Series: Opportunities in Oral Health

On July 13, the Institute of Medicine released reports calling for expanded access to oral health care. In this post, Paul Glassman, D.D.S., M.A., M.B.A., a professor of dental practice and director of community oral health at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, discusses innovative models for improving the oral health of vulnerable and underserved populations. See all the posts in this series.

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With the release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations oral health is again highlighted on the national stage. This report, together with the IOM’s report on Advancing Oral Health in America released earlier this year, represent landmark calls to action on improving the oral health of the nation. I was privileged to serve on the IOM Committee on Oral Health Access to Services that produced the “Improving Access” report.

In a time when resources are dwindling, and public programs are being reduced, I find hope and opportunity for the future of oral health care for vulnerable and underserved populations. Generally in times when things are going well, people become complacent with the status quo and policy-makers are reluctant to contemplate big changes. Now, however, there is strong desire to find innovative solutions that will improve quality and lower costs.

At the highest level, the Affordable Care Act established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations (CMMI) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The new Center has $10 billion to “test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures, while preserving or enhancing the quality of care for those who get Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) benefits.” Oral health advocates inside and outside CMS are urging the Center to include oral health innovations in its portfolio of activities.

The IOM reports also urge expanding use of previously tested models and further testing of innovative models for improving oral health of vulnerable and underserved populations. There are a number of models that have been developed that can potentially help more people get better oral health at lower cost. In this blog posting, I’ll briefly describe several I am familiar with although there are many others that are ongoing as well.

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Jul 28 2011
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Second in a Series: A Call to Action on Oral Health Care

On July 13, the Institute of Medicine released reports calling for expanded access to oral health care. Esther Lopez, D.D.S., a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Dental Pipeline program, gave the following interview to the Human Capital Blog on the reports, as part of our ongoing Voices from the Field series. Lopez is a volunteer dentist and member of the Dental Advisory Committee at Goldie’s Place, a support center for the homeless in Chicago which houses a dental clinic. See all the posts in this series.

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Human Capital Blog: The IOM report recommends the integration of oral health care into overall health care by training non-dental health care professionals to screen for oral disease and administer preventive care. What do you think of this approach to reaching underserved populations?

Esther Lopez: I definitely agree with this, mostly for the obvious reason that people who are losing out in dental health care are children and the elderly. Those two populations are the ones that visit primary providers the most – for a simple cold, the flu, a slip and fall accident – so having exposure to primary providers and non-dental health care professionals would be easier and more accessible. In order for this to happen we have to have more training available for these non-dental professionals. I see a lot of patients who come to Goldie’s Place with dental abscesses and things that need to be drained, that could be drained at a hospital. They go to a hospital are told that nothing can be done for them.

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Jul 25 2011
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First in a Series: A Call to Action on Oral Health Care

On July 13, the Institute of Medicine released reports calling for expanded access to oral health care. In this post, Denise Davis, Dr.P.H, M.P.A., an RWJF program officer and the guiding force behind the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Dental Pipeline program, discusses the consequences of a decade of inaction, the most promising courses at this time of fiscal constraint at the federal and state levels, and invites readers to share their views. See all the posts in this series.

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Ten years after the release of the Surgeon General’s report describing the oral health crisis in America, little has changed. This year, in an effort to bring this critical issue back into the spotlight for policy-makers, clinicians and the American public, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), released two reports – one in concert with the National Research Council.

These reports, Advancing Oral Health in America and Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations, build on the Surgeon General’s report of 2000 highlighting the importance and centrality of good oral health to overall health. The former highlights the need for leadership in this area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and presents a set of organized ideals for creating improvement while the latter provides a vision for oral health access and quality for all Americans.

These reports reiterate where persistent gaps in oral health access and care delivery exist and suggest what organized principles and system-level changes should be adopted to improve the current status of many underserved and vulnerable groups.

Unfortunately, progress in the area of oral health for the most vulnerable within our population is painstakingly slow, as evidenced by the previous decade of inaction. Given the current fiscal constraints at the federal and state levels, it will be critically important to give consideration to the recommendations in these reports while simultaneously looking into other approaches such as foundation studies, creative multi-stakeholder innovative demonstrations, state-level projects, etc. in order to stimulate future progress.

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Jul 14 2011
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Expanding Access to Oral Care

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council released a report Wednesday that makes a compelling and urgent case for expanding access to basic oral health care for vulnerable and underserved populations. Commissioned by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the California HealthCare Foundation, the report assesses the oral health care system and offers recommendations for ways to improve oral health care for children, seniors, minorities and other underserved populations.

Among its recommendations is the integration of oral health care into overall health care, by training non-dental health care professionals to screen for oral disease and administer preventive care. The report also recommends an improved dental education system that includes residencies and clinical experience with vulnerable and underserved populations, and increased recruitment to bring more people from minority, low-income and rural populations into the oral care field.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is working to promote and increase diversity in the dental workforce. Its Summer Medical and Dental Education Program works with college freshmen and sophomores from underrepresented populations to increase the competitiveness of their applications for dental or medical school. The free, six-week summer academic enrichment program operates at 12 sites across the country. RWJF’s Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community Based Dental Education Program (the Dental Pipeline program) operated until 2010, reaching dental schools all across the country with strategies that increased diversity in the profession and increased access to oral health care among underserved populations.

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May 19 2011
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A Q/A with RWJF's Denise Davis: Diversity and Oral Health

Denise Davis, Dr.P.H., is an RWJF program officer, and the guiding force behind RWJF’s Pipeline, Profession & Practice: Community Based Dental Education program (the Dental Pipeline program). The program ran from 2001 to 2010, working to increase diversity in the dental profession and to increase access to oral health care among underserved populations. Davis gave the following interview to the Human Capital Blog on May 16, 2011, as part of our RWJF Leaders series of blog posts.

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Human Capital Blog: Now that RWJF’s Dental Pipeline program has been completed, how would you assess its impact?

Denise Davis: One focus of the program was to expand the pipeline of diverse applicants to dental schools. Among the most important things we did was to look carefully at admissions committee processes. We hoped to discover how we could retool and retrain admissions committees. And, in fact, we’re still funding the work of the American Dental Education Association in that area, even after the Dental Pipeline program has ended. In any event, we succeeded in this first goal of extending access to a more diverse group of applicants. Quite simply, the number of minority students went up.

The other thing we focused on was expanding the clinical rotations of dental students. Dental schools have their own clinics, and they typically require students in their junior and senior years to practice what they’ve learned there. But they rarely extend those rotations to community clinics. So we required schools participating in the program to create contractual relationships with community clinics, and extend the time that students were engaged in these rotations.

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