Interprofessional Education Resources

The National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health – a consortium of philanthropies and health professionals working to foster dialogue and collaboration between primary care and dental providers – has supported several important initiatives that could be helpful to states seeking to incorporate oral health into primary care: 

  • The Smiles for Life curriculum, a set of online modules endorsed by 17 medical and dental professional societies that educate and provide clinical advice for physicians, nurses, and physician assistants in identifying and managing oral conditions throughout the lifespan, including for pregnant women and individuals with diabetes. Smiles for Life training modules are already used by several states, particularly to train pediatricians to provide oral health screening, referral, and fluoride varnish to young children.
  • The Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice initiative, led by the NYU College of Nursing, which is spreading the adoption of oral health practices by nursing training programs, professional associations, and practice settings. The initiative has developed a curriculum that adds an oral component to the traditional head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat (HEENT) examination, described in a 2015 article in the American Journal of Public Health. Implementation of the curriculum at NYU for nursing, medical, and dental students has resulted in increased referrals for dental care by nursing staff, and increased referrals for primary care by dental providers.
  • A project led by Qualis Health to develop a practical framework for primary care practices to implement oral health services in patient-centered medical homes and increase patients’ access to oral health services. Qualis has also outlined lessons from four projects to incorporate oral health into community health center-based medical homes.