Special Supplement to American Journal of Public Health Focuses on Diversifying Health Profession to Address Oral Health Inequities

Megan Lowry

Ronna Charles


Washington, D.C. — A special supplement to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) explores oral health inequities among vulnerable populations and the need to diversify the health work force to close the gaps.

As the nation continues to grapple with how to make health care available and affordable, it is clear that oral health continues to be treated as a stepchild. This special issue of AJPH shows that despite gains made in the past two decades, poor oral health is a silent epidemic that continues to affect  low-income communities and communities of color, in particular children, who are among our most vulnerable citizens.

Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness afflicting children, 43 percent of Americans have no dental coverage, half of all children entitled to dental care under Medicaid did not get a visit, and the dental profession is far from diverse — just 7 percent of all dentists are professionals of color. The articles in this issue highlight the numerous challenges in the current system, document the disparities and offer innovative solutions to ensure all have access to good oral health.

External funding for this supplement was provided by the Morehouse School of Medicine and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Find a full list of AJPH papers EMBARGOED until June 29, 2017, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • Addressing Oral Health Disparities via Educational Foci on Cultural Competence
  • Perspectives on Proposed Medicaid Reforms by Racial/Ethnic Minority Older Adults
  • A Workforce Strategy for Reducing Oral Health Disparities: Dental Therapists
  • Oral Health and Accountable Care Organizations. Is Oral Health Accounted?
  • The Effect of Outreach Messages on Medicaid Enrollment
  • Determinants of Oral Health Care Receipt and Self-Rated Oral Health for Diverse Asian American Subgroups in a Community-Based Survey in New York City
  • Indian Country Leads National Movement to Knock Down Barriers to Oral Health Equity
  • Using Registered Dental Hygienists to Promote a School-based Approach to Dental Public Health
  • Getting the Incentives Right: Improving Oral Health Equity with Universal School-Based Caries Prevention
  • Oral Health Disparities:  A perspective from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  • The Dental Health Aide Therapist Program in Alaska: An example for the 21st Century
  • Oral Health and Medicine Integration: Overcoming Historical Artifact to Relieve Suffering
  • Oral Health: An Essential Component of a Healthy, Enjoyable and Productive Lifespan
  • Oral Health, Basic Tenets for a Healthy, Productive Life
  • Communities’ Solution to a Community Oral Health Problem:  A Case for Economic Development
  • Expanding the Dental Workforce Is Key to Improving Access and Reducing Disparities in Oral Health
  • Oral Health Inequities: The Challenge of Closing the Gap
  • The Known Unknown: The Oral Health Needs of the Invisible, Incarcerated Population
  • Revisiting Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General
  • Improving Access to Oral Health for Uninsured and Underserved Populations? FirstHealth Dental Care
  • The Aetna-National Dental Association Partnership for Achieving Racial and Ethnic Health Equity
  • Dental Homes for Older Americans: A Santa Fe Group Call for Removal of the Dental Exclusion in Medicare
  • Addressing Oral Health Disparities and Inequities in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Lessons from a Federally Qualified Health Center
  • How Dental Therapists Can Address the Social and Racial Disparities in Access to Care
  • The Professional
  • The Nation's Oral Health: Who Cares...
  • Dental Therapy Education in Minnesota
  • Public Health Practice Vignette: Dental-Student Delivered Care at a Student-Faculty Collaborative Clinic in a Correctional Facility
  • Through the Looking Glass of Oral Health: A Path Toward Health Equity
  • Evaluation of a Community-Based Participatory Oral Health Intervention for Low-Income African American Men
  • Dental-Related Use of Hospital EDs by Hispanics and Non-Hispanics in Florida
  • Effectiveness on Early Childhood Caries of an Oral Health Promotion Program for Medical Providers

The articles above will be published online June 29, 2017, at 4 p.m. EDT by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at www.ajph.org.


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