Indian Country Leads National Movement to Knock Down Barriers to Oral Health Equity.


Tribal and other underserved communities are struggling under the weight of devastating oral health disparities. Tribes as sovereign nations are searching for innovative solutions to address their unique barriers to oral health care. Dental therapists are primary oral health providers who work as part of the dental team to provide a limited scope of services to patients. They were first brought to tribal communities by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Despite strong opposition from the American Dental Association aimed at protecting its monopoly on oral health care, dental therapists are sweeping the nation. Evidence shows that they are effective and provide high-quality care, particularly in underserved communities. A community's ability to develop public health policy solutions tailored to its needs and priorities is essential in eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is leading the way to more effective and efficient dental teams and working hard to lay the groundwork for the elimination of oral health disparities.

Location Description: 

Alaska AK