North Dakotans for Dental Access
North Dakotans for Dental Access News

Key takeaways from first ND Tribal Summit on Oral Health

August 2016 Newsletter

Key takeaways from first ND Tribal Summit on Oral Health

The North Dakota Tribal Summit on Oral Health Care attracted 50 concerned attendees to Bismarck in early August. The National Indian Health Board and the American Indian Public Health Resource Center at North Dakota State University organized and hosted the event that included representatives from area tribes, community health care centers, the dental association and other entities.

According to Dr. Donald Warne, chair of the Department of Public Health at NDSU and one of the summit’s organizers, the key takeaways included the following: the gap in oral health disparities is great in North Dakota; several short term preventive actions, with proper funding and support, could decrease that gap from growing; there is a significant need for consistent and accessible service in tribal communities; and addressing this will require different approaches to service delivery, increased coverage for oral health services, and collaborative efforts.

Along with these key takeaways a number of action items were suggested: getting toothbrushes and toothpaste in the homes of all North Dakota children; increasing the number of tribal members enrolled in Medicaid; addressing diet as a means for improving and maintaining oral health; allowing dentists at tribal clinics to hire dental therapists and ensuring reimbursement; state funding for the school sealant program; increasing IHS dental services budgets; and attracting more dentists to the state.

Upcoming webinar: A bi-partisan solution to expanding oral health access

In June, Vermont became the fourth state to allow dentists to hire dental therapists as part of the dental team, to help increase access to oral health care. You are invited to join a free webinar on Monday, August 22, from 1 to 2 p.m. central time as two Vermont lawmakers, Rep. Paul Dame (R) and Sen. Jeanette White (D) discuss their support of dental therapists amid pushback.

Please register for the webinar by clicking here and share this information with your colleagues. Contact Tera at the Dental Access Project, if you have any questions.

Filling the gap, a solution to the lack of oral health options in Oregon

The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, Oregon posted a comprehensive story earlier this month covering how their state is working in multiple directions to fill the gap identified in providing oral health care to their residents. These options include various pilot programs, training dental therapists, and working with their state legislators. Click here for an in-depth look at how Oregon is addressing oral health concerns and making the option of dental therapists a reality for their state. 

Copyright ©2023 North Dakotans for Dental Access