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Third Cohort of Students Enter ADA Community Dental Health Coordinator Pilot Program

March 31, 2011

Contact Information:
Telephone: 312.440.2806
Email: (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

Chicago, March 28, 2011—The American Dental Association's (ADA) Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) pilot program welcomes its third group of students today, while the second student group moves on to the internship phase of their training. The first group is now practicing in clinics, schools and other public health settings.

The pilot program, funded by the ADA, trains students at a number of U.S. program sites to become community health workers with a special focus on dental skills, who will help people in underserved communities improve their oral health. In most cases, CDHCs return to work in the same communities from which they were recruited, eliminating the social, language and cultural barriers that otherwise could impede their effectiveness. The CDHC's primary functions are oral health education and disease prevention. CDHCs are trained to perform limited preventive procedures and to help patients needing dental care from dentists navigate the system, linking them with dentists to provide that care.

Rio Salado College hosts CDHC kickoff

Participants in the kickoff event at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Ariz., on March 28-30 will include students from three pilot-program sites, CDHC educators and ADA leaders, including Dr. Ken Rich, a trustee representing the association's District 6.

Cohort 3 program pilot sites are: Temple University in Philadelphia, which focuses on urban areas; the University of Oklahoma, where CDHCs concentrate on remote rural communities; and AT Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH)'s Mesa, Ariz. Campus, whose graduates will work in Indian communities.

The kickoff event will provide current and past students an opportunity to share their experiences with the incoming cohort. New students will receive laptop computers, an orientation to their sequence of training as well as a program overview. The event will also provide program directors and personnel to share lessons learned during the second year of the pilot project.

The CDHC is modeled on the community health worker, a proven public health model that has been extraordinarily successful, a member of the public health team that focuses on health education, prevention, disease management and increasing access. Like that model, CDHCs focus on health education, prevention, disease management and increasing access fully trained dentists as needed.

"We are delighted to see these individuals return to their communities as trained community health workers, playing an important role in resolving barriers to help improve residents' dental care," said Raymond F. Gist, D.D.S., ADA president. "That's what this program is all about."

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 162,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website