The specialty of dental public health promotes oral health through organized community efforts, the improvement of access to dental care for the underserved population groups, and the development of community-based oral disease prevention programs. Through a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the American Institute for Dental Public Health (AIDPH) leads the advancement of dental public health through science and education. AIDPH provides a framework for advanced dental education students and residents to learn about barriers to oral health care by increasing cultural sensitivity and understanding the needs of underrepresented groups.
The American Institute of Dental Public Health offers education in academic leadership, an internship in federal service, and a focused public health service-learning experience along the Texas-Mexico border region. The internships complement advanced dental education and residency programs by providing an interactive experience that emphasizes the application of key dental public health principles. Through AIDPH, the internships promote the science and practice of dental public health.
The annual Dental Public Health Colloquium is designed to provide focused information and discussion related to an emerging topic in dental public health science and practice. The first colloquium, Dental Public Health Informatics: Opportunities in a Changing Environment, explored the role of big data in health care systems. Colloquia allow for a free exchange of ideas and discussion about key dental public health topics that engage learners and experts in a comfortable educational environment.
AIDPH provides additional experiences that can enhance learning opportunities for advanced education students and public health practitioners. “Anecdotal Evidence”, the AIDPH podcast series, connects public health leaders to promulgate real-time strategies in moving the needle toward creating shared value in the science and education of dental public health. The AIDPH DPH Interview series highlights stories from dental public health experts about their career paths and strategies for success in the dental public health workforce. Using the DPH-VRC, scholars can access over 2,0000 curated references on critical dental public health topics.
The overarching objective of experiences provided by the AIDPH is to promote dental public health knowledge, skills, and values with the goal of educating a future oral health workforce. AIDPH experiences highlight the roles that dental public health scholars and practitioners can undertake to obtain optimal oral health care for communities.
David P. Cappelli, DMD, MPH, PhD
Executive Director, American Institute of Dental Public Health