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Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations
their physical facilities and that use new delivery models and techniques.
• Other nonprofit community health centers can take the steps outlined in this recommendation to increase the delivery of essential oral health services to greater numbers of vulnerable and underserved individuals.
The release of this report coincides with a transformative moment in the nation’s health care system. As the nation struggles to address the larger systemic issues of access to health care, greater effort will be needed to ensure that oral health is included in this conversation.
The recommendations presented in this report are directed to national, state, and local governments; all types of health care professions; licensing and accreditation bodies; educational institutions; health care researchers; and philanthropic and advocacy organizations. Together, these groups have the power to transform the delivery of oral health care to vulnerable and underserved populations. This report envisions an integrated delivery system that provides quality oral health care to vulnerable and underserved people where they live, work, and learn through changes in the education, financing, and regulation of oral health care. The recommendations support the creation of a diverse workforce that is competent, compensated, and authorized to serve vulnerable and underserved populations across the life cycle. Implementation of these recommendations will be a critical next step in increasing access to oral health care, reducing persistent oral health disparities, and improving oral health outcomes among vulnerable and underserved populations.