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CDHC training program includes supervision by licensed dentists

Phase 1 of the Community Dental Health Coordinator has been completed and Phase 2 begins in early 2009.

In Phase 1, the Workforce Models National Coordinating and Development Committee completed the development of a model CDHC training program. The 18-month program has been designed to prepare individuals to work under a dentist's supervision in health and community settings promoting oral health and providing preventive services until the patient can receive comprehensive care from a dentist or dental hygienist.

With a grant from the ADA Foundation, the CDHC curriculum was developed including objectives, outlines, teaching resources, learning activities and evaluation mechanisms, with modules designed primarily for online delivery. A sample copy of the CDHC curriculum will be on display in the Delegates Registration Area during annual session.

Three sites have been selected for Phase 2—the pilot training component—in which CDHCs will work under the supervision of a licensed dentist, said Dr. Bob Brandjord, chair of the National Coordinating and Development Committee.

"During the demonstration projects, the CDHCs will be supervised by a committee that includes a representative of the host state's board of dentistry," he said. "If the demonstration projects prove effective, CDHCs could be recognized by a state board of dentistry."

CDHC pilot projects will take place in three sites:

  • Native American site—Partnership between University of California-Los Angeles and Salish Kootenai College of Pablo, Mont., a tribal college on the Flathead Indian Reservation with a CODA-accredited dental assisting program. The curriculum's online components will be provided by Rio Salado College (Arizona) and hands-on clinical training will occur in Native American facilities in several different states.
  • Urban site—Michigan Coalition for Development and Implementation of the Community Dental Health Coordinators in collaboration with the Wayne County Community College District. Pending state approval, hands-on training will occur in Federally Qualified Health Centers. In June, a bill was introduced in the Michigan legislature proposing to establish a four-year demonstration program authorizing the practice of CDHCs who would work in designated underserved areas and provide limited dental care, including tooth scaling and placing temporary restorations—all under dentists' supervision.
  • Rural site—University of Oklahoma. The curriculum's online components will be provided by Rio Salado College and hands-on clinical training will occur in Indian Health Service facilities and Federally Qualified Health Centers. The pilot program has been approved by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.