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Action for Dental Health Stories: CDHCs Help Underserved People Receive Care

December 04, 2014

Contact Information:
Robert Raible

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eight years ago the American Dental Association (ADA) launched a pilot project to bring better dental health to underserved communities by training Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHCs). CDHCs go where there are people in need —whether community centers, schools, clinics, senior centers, churches, or correctional facilities—to provide dental health education and preventive services, and to connect them with dentists for needed treatment.

People in inner cities, remote rural areas and Native American lands face health care challenges including poverty, geography, differences in language and culture and a lack of understanding of the importance of good oral health and how to maintain it. CDHCs come from the same types of communities—often the very same communities—in which they work. They understand these challenges and are uniquely equipped to provide solutions.

1. Jenna Linden helped coordinate oral health education and care for more than 2,800 people last year while serving on two CDHC temporary assignments, one in Vermont and one in Florida. Read more here.

2. Lori Wood works at a federally qualified health center in Honesdale, Pa. Last summer, she took a temporary assignment in Silver City, N.M., where she helped more than 1,400 patients learn about taking care of their dental health. CDHCs are particularly effective because they are trained to go out into the community. Read more here.

3. Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque is preparing to launch a CDHC program in January.  Students in this initial class will be registered dental hygienists or certified dental assistants who want to broaden their abilities to help more people in their communities. Read more here

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn

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