Dental professionals can take an active role in the community by advocating for effective policies/programs/practices.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation recognized the importance of advocacy training for graduating pediatric dentists by including it as a part of didactic and clinical standards. Advocacy is integral to one of the 10 core competencies recognized by the American Board of Dental Public Health for all dental public health specialists.
Advocacy is also recognized as an important skill for graduating predoctoral dental and dental hygiene students. Therefore dental and dental hygiene academia, should prepare future dental professionals to become strong advocates of oral health in their communities.
In 2017, the Health Services Resources Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services funded the "Pediatric Patient Care, Population Health, and Community Based Training Project (PPCT)" proposed by the Temple University Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry (TUKSoD). To achieve one of the objectives of the PPCT project, Dr. Vinodh Bhoopathi, the project director, collaborated with Childrens' Dental Health Project (CDHP), to develop an "Oral Health Advocacy Toolkit". This toolkit is primarily developed for dental, dental hygiene, pediatric dental residency, dental public health residency, and other academic programs that wish to initiate and/or integrate oral health advocacy training into their dental curriculum.
The associations and societies that represent dentists and dental hygienists are also encouraged to develop training programs that educate and train practicing dental professionals to become effective oral health advocates. This toolkit identifies 13 key components of advocacy. Faculty members are encouraged to develop lessons or assignments that are based on one or more of these components. People who already work in the dental or medical profession are likely to find much of the toolkit helpful if they seek to assume oral health advocacy roles.
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