ships and the Epidemic Intelligence Service (CDC, 2011). The IHS is also involved in training dentists and dental students. The IHS runs a comprehensive continuing dental education program for its staff, and it trains dental students through an externship program for second- and third-year students (Halliday, 2010).

The USPHS offers Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Programs (COSTEP) to a variety of students (including dental students) (USPHS, 2011). The junior version of the program is offered to students at the baccalaureate level and above to gain experience working in public health settings (usually during summer vacations). Students are compensated for their time. In the senior version of the program, students near graduation are given financial assistance toward their education in return for an obliged period of service to the USPHS after graduation.

Interdisciplinary Training

The value of interdisciplinary care was discussed in Chapter 3, and HHS plays a role in promoting interdisciplinary team care through training grants. Some recent and ongoing examples of HHS’ efforts to promote interdisciplinary training include: $29.5 million from the ACA and the ARRA to fund interdisciplinary geriatric training (HHS, 2010e), and the Title VII interdisciplinary, community-based grant programs, which are designed to promote interdisciplinary care and increase access to care for underserved populations and in underserved areas.40 In its most recent report to the secretary and Congress, the Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care and Dentistry recommended additional funding for training programs that promote interprofessional practice (HHS, 2010b).


While this report focuses on the role HHS alone has in improving the oral health of the nation, the committee notes that there are many opportunities for HHS to partner with multiple other stakeholders, such as those in the private sector (including consumers). The need for effective public-private partnerships has been a central theme across time as HHS has sought to improve oral health care. For example, the Meskin Commission in 1989 had predominately private-sector representation, along with collaborators from various federal agencies. In addition, the Meskin report called for greater interaction with national dental organizations within the department and more input from private dentistry (Interim Study Group on Dental Activities, 1989).


40 42 U.S.C. §§294 et seq.

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