In 2004 the ADA set up a task force to determine how to best meet the needs of dentally underserved rural, urban and American Indian settings communities.
Two years later, the ADA established the Community Dental Health Coordinator Pilot Program as one component in the effort to break through the barriers that prevent people from receiving regular dental care and enjoying optimal oral health.
The ADA invested more than $7 million in the CDHC pilot program. In 2010, that funding was bolstered by Henry Schein Cares, the charitable arm of Henry Schein, Inc., which agreed to donate $860,000 in equipment to support CDHC students' education and training.
In October 2010, the first class of 10 CDHC students completed training and began working in tribal clinics, urban and rural Federally Qualified Health Centers, Indian Health Service Facilities and other settings. The eight students in the second CDHC class completed their training in fall 2011, followed by16 students who graduated the following year.
While the educational phase of the ADA CDHC pilot project has come to an end, the Association's commitment has not. The ADA is currently evaluating the effectiveness and viability of the CDHC model and providing technical assistance to educational institutions, clinics and other stakeholders interested in creating CDHC programs.