CDA journal explores barriers to care, dental workforce

The July issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association examines issues related to the dental workforce and overcoming barriers to care.

The issues are currently in the forefront of a national debate regarding oral health disparities that impact 30% of the population -- among 82 million people across the U.S., including 10 million in California, according to the California Dental Association (CDA).

This is the third issue of the journal devoted to the controversy over addressing barriers to care, and includes articles on the community dental health coordinator (CDHC), the importance of children's oral health needs, and the ADA's response to some proposed solutions to the access-to-care dilemma in the U.S.

Ideas also are presented about the dentist's role as a professional in the context of a societal contract, and the need to work toward risk assessment, management, and prevention of caries rather than focusing on surgical intervention.

"As dentists, we have an important role to play in determining how disparities in oral healthcare are addressed. There is not one simple answer to solve the problem," said Kerry Carney, DDS, editor-in-chief of the Journal, in a press release. "The future of dentistry should be shaped by those who practice it."

An article titled "Getting Help for Children: The Need to Expand the Dental Workforce" explores how access barriers brought to national attention 10 years ago by the U.S. surgeon general remain a challenge today, and states that new thinking and approaches may be necessary to expand care to children who need it.

Another article, "CDHC, a Possible Change Agent Promoting Access to Care," discusses the ADA's pilot program aimed at training community dental health coordinators to expand the workforce and alleviate some of the problems associated with access to care.

"Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: The Role of Workforce," a statement from the ADA, is the first in a series offering the ADA's vision of "a healthier, more productive nation."

Finally, "Society Expectations and the Profession's Responsibility to Reform the Dental Workforce to Ensure Access to Care for Children" explores the inter-relationship of three concepts: the meaning of the profession, societal expectations, and reform of the dental workforce.

"CDA continues to believe that an evidence-based approach to these issues and a robust discussion by the profession will be positive for both the profession and the public," Dr. Carney said.

Page 1 of 4
Next Page