Native Dental Therapy Initiative

Unknown-1The mission of the Native Dental Therapy Initiative is to connect tribal communities with innovative approaches to address AI/AN oral health disparities, to remove barriers impeding the creation of efficient, high quality, modern dental teams and to provide opportunities for AI/AN people to become oral health providers. According to the IHS 2014 Oral Health Survey, the majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) children have tooth decay, most adults have lost teeth because of dental disease, periodontal disease is a significant problem for adults, and there is limited access to both preventive and restorative dental care. There is a tremendous opportunity to increase access to oral health care and improve oral health outcomes by training and employing Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs). DHATs are highly-trained mid-level providers, much like Physician’s Assistants.  Part of a dentist-led team, they have a narrow scope of practice, focusing on routine and preventive services.  They are recruited from their communities and go back to serve their communities.  Tribes deserve the reliable, culturally relevant care that DHATs offer. The Native Dental Therapy Initiative is working to ensure this solution is available to all Tribes.  Read our newsletter to find out more about our current projects and campaigns!

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