need to look to the model of immunization as an example of successfully integrating the delivery of preventive services in these settings.

HHS has also actively supported programs that seek to improve the use of nondental health care professionals in oral health care. For example, Bright Futures was initiated by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau in 1990 to improve children’s health in general through health promotion and disease prevention (AAP, 2011a). The project includes a collaboration of many different organizations and includes information, guidance, and training on oral health issues from pregnancy through adolescence. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is MCHB’s lead collaborator; AAP has developed a new edition of the Bright Futures Guidelines, which focus on health promotion and disease prevention (MCHB, 2011). The website (www.brightfutures.org) includes online training modules for child health professionals in oral health management and risk assessment.

PUBLIC HEALTH WORKERS

Public health workers include many of the professions previously mentioned, including both dental and nondental health care professionals. The 1988 IOM report The Future of Public Health defined the mission of public health as “fulfilling society’s interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy” (IOM, 1988). That committee went on to say:

[Public health’s] aim is to generate organized community effort to address the public interest in health by applying scientific and technical knowledge to prevent disease and promote health. The mission of public health is addressed by private organizations and individuals as well as by public agencies. But the governmental public health agency has a unique function: to see to it that vital elements are in place and that the mission is adequately addressed. (IOM, 1988)

As with other segments of the health care workforce, the public health workforce is difficult to enumerate due to the variety of professions involved, lack of a common taxonomy for job titles and duties, and a lack of a single comprehensive licensure or certification process for public health (HRSA, 2000). Both dental and nondental health care professionals may be involved in dental public health. Little is known about the extent of training in oral health among schools of public health, even though graduates may be involved in oral health issues during their careers. A 2001 survey of schools of public health showed that 60 percent of schools had no faculty with a degree in dentistry or dental hygiene (Tomar, 2006). In addition, only 15 percent of schools offered a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in dental public health.

The predecessor to the present-day American Association of Public



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement