The Origins and Design of the Dental Pipeline Program

This article describes the creation and funding of the Pipeline, Profession, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education Program. The Dental Pipeline Program was launched in 2001 and operates in 15 dental schools, or approximately one-third of all dental schools in the U.S. The program is supported by three major foundations: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation and the California Endowment.

The Pipeline Program was created to address the critical shortage of dental services for the nation's underserved and disadvantaged populations. The program has these primary objectives:

  • Increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority and low-income students to dental school.
  • Revise didactic and clinical curricula in dental schools to support community-based educational programs.
  • Establish community-based clinical education programs that will provide dental students and residents with 60 days of experience in this patient care environment.

The article lays out each organization's interest in and commitment to the Dental Pipeline. It also describes goals for the program, possible obstacles to achieving these goals and the structure of the national program office.