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DQA to address oral health needs of children, pregnant women

June 28, 2017

By David Burger

In charge: Dr. Matthew Vaillant, DQA vice chair, and Dr. Marie Schweinebraten, DQA chair, preside over the alliance’s meeting June 16 at ADA headquarters in Chicago. The grant received by the DQA was discussed at the meeting.
— The Dental Quality Alliance's latest project is to improve the access to and quality of care for pregnant women, children and their families.

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center at Georgetown University has been awarded a cooperative agreement from the federal government's Maternal and Child Health Bureau to administer a Center for Oral Health Systems Integration and Improvement with help from the DQA.

The DQA's involvement will be supported by a $366,000 contract over four years to identify and develop oral health quality indicators to monitor and improve oral health services in public health programs for maternal and child health populations.

The purpose of the funding is to improve existing systems of care in support of a quality-improvement, patient-centered approach that addresses the comprehensive oral health needs of the maternal and child populations, according to a news release from the resource center. Comprehensive delivery of care ensures continuity of care and integration between primary care health professionals and oral health professionals, the release said.

Katrina Holt, the center's director, said, "We're very excited that we'll be building a new affiliation with the DQA, also a consortium partner. DQA's involvement is critical to the center's goal of convening an advisory team to define quality indicators for the center's community. Drs. Jim Crall and Krishna Aravamudhan, both of DQA, bring extensive expertise to the science of oral health and quality improvement, and DQA, with wide representation among its members, has a portfolio of accomplishment in this area."

Dr. Crall, past DQA chair, is a UCLA professor and chair of the school's division of public health and community dentistry. Dr. Aravamudhan is director of the ADA Center for Dental Benefits, Coding and Quality.

Dr. Steve Geiermann, the ADA's senior manager of access and community oral health infrastructure and capacity, will serve in an advisory board to provide guidance and strategic advice to the management team.

"This new partnership provides a great opportunity for the DQA to help strengthen and align quality measurement and improvement activities across national, state and local programs and systems that address the oral health needs of maternal and child populations," said Dr. Jim Crall, chair of the Center for Oral Health Systems Integration and Improvement's Quality Indicator Advisory Team. "At the same time, the collaboration will help us advance measures development and improvement in areas that represent core public health values, such as patient-centered care and comprehensive care."

The DQA, established by the ADA in 2008, through a request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is composed of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community committed to the development of consensus-based quality measures. The mission of the DQA is to advance performance measurement as a means to improve oral health, patient care and safety through a consensus-building process.

The grant was announced at the DQA meeting June 16 at the ADA headquarters in Chicago.

The meeting also served as the first look for many of the members at the DQA's first online course, which aims to provide dental professionals tools to use real-time feedback to evaluate, monitor and improve their quality of services, both clinical and operational, in their practices. The free course, created in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is available at

For more information about the Dental Quality Alliance, visit or email