of Pediatric Dentistry on a Dental Home Initiative. The goal of the initiative was to establish dental homes for all Head Start children, to develop oral health leadership and infrastructure at the regional and state levels, and to expand oral education for Head Start children, families, and staff. However, in 2010, the Office of Head Start announced it would not exercise the two remaining option years for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s partnership on the project (AAPD, 2010).

Recently, two efforts have arisen to promote the sharing of health data and encourage innovation in the use of the data. First, HHS’ Community Health Data Initiative is an effort to provide the public with free access to “easily accessible, standardized, structured, downloadable data on health care, health, and determinants of health performance at the national, state, and county levels, as well as by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and income (where available)” (HHS, 2011a). This will include data from CMS and Healthy People, including data that have not been available to the public in the past. HHS hopes to use this effort to encourage all interested parties to use the data in innovative ways that will benefit the public as a whole. HHS compares this effort to that of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which openly shares weather data that users can turn into websites, applications, and other useful tools for the public domain (HHS, 2011a). Similarly, the Blue Button Initiative, a partnership between CMS and the VA, will aim to promote public innovation related to improving the use of personal health information (CMS, 2010a).

Finally, there is a history of consumer involvement within HHS agencies as the department has sought to advance oral health for patients. For example, the National Institute for Dental Research and later the NIDCR sought (and continues to seek) the input of patient advocacy organizations in conducting its research work (NIDCR, 2008). Patient advocacy organizations also voluntarily partner with and participate through foundations such as the Friends of NIDCR (FNIDCR, 2010b). This reflects the recent movement toward patient-centeredness and shared decision making (IOM, 2001).


The committee also notes that other parts of the federal government are responsible for the delivery of oral health care as well as collection of oral health data for their relevant populations. The following sections highlight just some areas in which other federal departments are involved in oral health.

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