Expanding Access and Equity
Did you know that roughly two in five veterans describe their oral health as fair or poor? This translates to approximately eight million veterans with self-reported suboptimal oral health. Veterans experience poorer oral health outcomes compared to non-veterans; a reality exacerbated by the historically fragmented dental care systems that perpetuate inequities. AIDPH's veteran oral health initiative focus areas include:
Understanding the current barriers veterans face in accessing oral health care to support a systems change framework.
Exploring integrated models of care that support the unique healthcare needs of veterans to inform whole-person health solutions.
Partnering with community, state, and national organizations to develop a stakeholder network ready to advance oral health equity for veterans.
Are you a person or entity currently working within the veteran oral health space? Please take ten minutes to tell us what you’re doing- and how you’re doing it. Are you providing dental care? Are you funding projects? Are you conducting research? Are you connecting veterans to resources? Either way, we want to know about it!
Research from AIDPH and CareQuest Institute
NEW Visual Report: Veteran Dental Care Stimulates the Economy and Improves Overall Health
In the newest report from the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) and CareQuest Institute for Oral Health®, an economic analysis reveals the whole-health cost savings of providing access to dental care for veterans. Veterans are not effectively accessing dental care. As a result, both veterans and taxpayers are supporting costly care through ED visits and inadequate chronic disease management. Loss of work productivity and the inability to remain employed as a result of untreated dental needs underscores the economic impact of inequitable dental care. Providing veterans with access to affordable, high-quality dental care will improve their overall health and well-being while reducing immediate and long-term costs.
Veteran Oral Health: Expanding Access and Equity
Responding to the needs of the veteran community, AIDPH and CareQuest Institute for Oral Health collaborated with veteran organizations and oral health stakeholders to create a forward-thinking white paper, Veteran Oral Health: Expanding Access and Equity. Using text, data, images, and graphics, the paper identifies gaps in oral health access for veterans and explores ways to address them including:
- Expanding eligibility criteria for veterans to receive oral health services
- Expanding the role of Federally Qualified Health Centers and
- Advance medical-dental integration in veteran health care
Taking Action: A Colloquium and Sign-on Letter
During a virtual colloquium, Transforming Veteran Oral Health, recently held by the American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) in partnership with CareQuest Institute for Oral Health, more than 100 industry stakeholders heard from nationally renowned speakers — health care providers, advocates, policymakers, educators, and veterans— on ways to transform the oral health care system for veterans. Click here to view Colloquium presentations and materials.
AIDPH also coordinated efforts to secure signatures in support of a letter in support of S.3017, the Veterans Dental Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act of 2021. Over 70 organizations and individuals added their names as a formal request to the US Senate Committee of Veterans’ Affairs to prioritize the expansion of oral health care for veterans. The key ask in the sign on letter is for the committee to advance the bill in support of approved access for veteran dental care. Read the letter here.