Bulletin of Dental Education

Around the Dental Education Community - October 2012

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IOM Report Details Progress in Reducing Health Disparities

At the turn of the 21st century, several important reports and events designed to raise awareness of health disparities and to describe initial efforts to reduce health disparities took place. The United States Surgeon General’s office released several reports that showed dramatic disparities, for example, in tobacco use and access to mental health services by race and ethnicity. Legislation focused on reducing health disparities was signed into law, creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities within the NIH. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its landmark report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, highlighting the importance of a focus on health care quality rather than a focus on only access and cost issues.

Building upon these reports and events, the IOM held a workshop on April 8, 2010, that discussed progress to address health disparities and focused on the success of various federal initiatives to reduce health disparities. The workshop yielded a document summarizing the progress over the past decade.

IOM Study Addresses Challenges to Health Care

Last month, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report addressing current challenges to health care. America's health care system has become far too complex and costly to continue business as usual. Pervasive inefficiencies, an inability to manage a rapidly deepening clinical knowledge base, and a reward system poorly focused on key patient needs, all hinder improvements in the safety and quality of care and threaten the nation's economic stability and global competitiveness. Achieving higher quality care at lower cost will require fundamental commitments to the incentives, culture, and leadership that foster continuous "learning”, as the lessons from research and each care experience are systematically captured, assessed, and translated into reliable care. 

The IOM convened the Committee on the Learning Health Care System in America to explore these challenges to health care. The product of the committee’s deliberations, Best Care at Lower Cost, identifies three major imperatives for change: the rising complexity of modern health care, unsustainable cost increases, and outcomes below the system’s potential. But it also points out that emerging tools like computing power, connectivity, team-based care, and systems engineering techniques make the envisioned transition possible, and are already being put to successful use in pioneering health care organizations. Applying these new strategies would support the transition to a continuously learning health system, one that aligns science and informatics, patient-clinician partnerships, incentives, and a culture of continuous improvement to produce the best care at lower cost. The report’s recommendations speak to the many stakeholders in the health care system and outline the concerted actions necessary across all sectors to achieve the needed transformation.

Dental Students Eligible for NIH Medical Research Scholars Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) (http://www.cc.nih.gov/training/mrsp/index.html) is a year-long research enrichment program designed to attract creative, research-oriented dental, medical, and veterinary students to the NIH intramural campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

The MRSP is designed for rising fourth-year students (initial clinical rotations completed), but does not exclude other students with strong research interests from applying.

Students engage in a mentored basic, clinical, or translational research project that matches their professional interests and goals. The MRSP also provides an academic curriculum with lectures highlighting the process of discovery, training in clinical protocol development and human subjects research, clinical rounds with research patients, and academic leadership training.

Applications for the 2013-14 MRSP class will be accepted from October 1, 2012 to January 15, 2013.  Eligible students can apply online.

Dental School Showcases Children’s Oral Health and Kids in the Klinic Program at San Francisco Giants’ Community Clubhouse

Volunteers from the University of Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry  recently staffed the Community Clubhouse at AT&T Park during a San Francisco Giants baseball game to raise awareness for children's oral health and the school's Kids in the Klinic Endowment. This is the third consecutive year the dental school has partnered with the San Francisco Giants to spotlight children's oral health at a ball game.      

During the matchup against the Colorado Rockies, volunteers from the school's Hutto Patterson Pediatric Dentistry Clinic quizzed attendees about dental health, gave away hundreds of toothbrushes and toothpaste, and distributed mation about the dental school's clinics. 

The Kids in the Klinic Endowment supports dental care for socioeconomically disadvantaged children throughout Northern California. Its mission is to raise funds to provide for children who do not have access to dental care, including many children with extreme medical problems, birth defects or other debilitating conditions. 

Voice Your Opinion—Survey Focusing on Minorities Launched

The first ever National Survey of Underrepresented Minority Dentists in the United States has been launched by the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Dental Department. ADEA has been engaged in the development of this survey and strongly encourages underrepresented minority dentists to complete it. The purpose of this study is to understand what factors help underrepresented minority dentists have a successful career path as well as to document the contributions of minority providers to the oral health system. The survey is a chance to voice opinions about critical issues facing minority dental providers today. Recipients are encouraged to respond. Please direct any questions about the study to Alexis Cooke, MPH, at 1-877-231-0863 or   acooke@thecenter.ucsf.edu

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