I’m proud to be a part of the national Dental Pipeline Program. It was a nationally funded project by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment. Today we heard from a few speakers at the American Dental Education Association annual session, about the accomplishments this program has made over the last 10 years. Numerous US Schools of Dentistry’s success stories were shared. The number of hours dental students spent in communtiy clinics has dramatically increased, meaning an increased access to care in rural and low income areas. Numerous schools noted their students also increased the efficiency of their skills.
The was tremendous value gained from the collaborations between the schools. Similar to other health careeers, there is a lack of under-represented minorites in dentistry, and a need to increase the number of under-represented minorities in the dental workforce. The California dental schools created shared brochures for interested minority students, and focused on collaboration, not competition for students. The Post-Baccaulaureate program is a fabulous opportunity for under-represented minorities who were previously not accepted, to gain acceptance into dental school. There is a great mentoring program, assistance with test-taking skills, and students remediate specific courses, to enhance their understanding, where it was previously lacking. Sometimes a student would be accepted and choose one Dental Pipeline school, but choose another for their education. We celebrated and considered this a success.

California dental schools partnered with community clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to increase access to care for the state’s residents. The California Primary Care Association (CPCA) joined the cause partway through the grant, and they were a fabulous partner. Practice management and operations consultations were made available to community clinics to enhane their operations. Pipeline students were hired into community clinics, many of whom learned about the clinics, by working there with the Pipeline program. Some students worked at a clinic on a weekly basis for a quarter or semester; while others lived in a nearby resident and worked at a clinic regularly for weeks to learn about operations.

There is a national Dental Pipeline Learning Institute, with a goal to demonstrate the ability to spread the national imactof pipeline programs. It will start with a 3 day intensive in person learning session in mid October 2012. The University of the Pacific, American Dental Education Association, California Primary Care Association, and a national network for oral health access & 13 other national organizations to bring this project forward. There will be s national advisory committee for short & long term policy implications. There should be a very rich faculty and learning environment. The applicants will be dental schools and community clinic partnership teams and 10 wille granted. The goal is toimpact diversity or access to care in their area. Schools will be assigned a mentor from a established Pipeline schools, curriculum will be designed around the Pipeline principles: cultural diversity,financial benefits,building and running a community-based educational program, leadership and advocacy for change management.
The deadline to apply is June 25 2012, at 3:00pm. Please contact PipelineNLI@adea.org for questions, assistance, or other inquiries.

2012 Call for applications, eligibility and selection criteria: www.adea.org/PipelineNLI

For more information about the Pipeline schools, please visit: Dental Pipeline

A reflective article I wrote about the Dental Pipeline Program is being published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Dental Education. I anticipate this will be in June, and will update the link at that time.

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