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News Releases

New Law Incorporates Dentists in Emergency Response Plans

March 15, 2013

Contact Information:
Rob Raible: Telephone: 202.789.5166 Email:

President Obama last night signed into law language clarifying that dentists may be considered disaster response public health responders to disasters or other public health emergencies. The president’s action brings to a close a two-year effort by the American Dental Association to include the language in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPA). The law also clarifies that dental schools are eligible to receive federal funds to train public health and medical response workers.

The reauthorization will ensure that programs created almost 10 years ago to help the government manage medical responses to natural disasters and other emergencies will remain in place. The reauthorizing law contains language that includes dentistry in the response framework, taking advantage of dentists’ extensive education, training and professionalism.

The new language does not mandate emergency response participation by dentists but gives states the option of incorporating dentists and dental facilities into their planning.

"We would like to thank the president for signing this important legislation," said Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA president. "And we especially want to thank Rep. Mike Burgess who championed the dental language in this bill from the beginning."

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 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