The Benefits of Integrating Oral Health into Healthcare: A Santa Fe Group Continuum


  • Engage and honor leaders to advance integration through research, policy, economic, social (SDOH) factors, professional readiness, advocacy, clinical practice and health care systems.
  • Promote the integration of oral and overall health and well-being to achieve health equity
  • Achieve overall health coverage and care to include oral health in public and private programs, for example public coverage for older adults enrolled in Medicare
  • Enrich a large-scale, interprofessional and oral/systemic integration movement

Key Words:  Share, Examine, Determine, Build and Initiate


The Santa Fe Group (SFG) has had significant successes in its 25-year history in areas such as: oral cancer diagnosis (quadruped number of people getting oral cancer diagnosis (quadruped number of people getting oral cancer exams); reform of dental education (spawned the permanent Commission on Change and Innovation at the American Dental Education Association); and access to dental care (Catalyzed the creation of permanent dental care sites in Los Angeles). These achievements were launched with a meeting, typically organized as an invitation only salon, combined with highly leveraged communication initiatives. However, some issues are too big, too complex, too entrenched, and too important to launch in a meaningful way through a signal catalytic meeting. Integrating oral health into total healthcare is such an all-encompassing issue. Therefore, the SFG has developed a new catalytic approach, a “Continuum,” to advance oral healthcare not only for the significant benefits of a healthy mouth for its own sake, but more importantly, for its substantial benefits to total body health including its enormous, parallel economic benefits to society.

Continuum Process:

The SFG Continuum will include an integrated progression: of webinars, position papers, editorials, consolidated web resources, and social media programming which will all lead up to a galvanizing virtual Salon titled, The Benefits of Integrating Oral Health into Healthcare, on September 8th-9th, 2021. The Salon, in turn, will be followed by a set of post-salon activities which build upon the prior events with a goal toward maximizing the total health and well-being of society. The Continuum will be structured so that each component enhances the common goal of healthcare integration, but each component will also stand along for those that cannot participate in the entire process.  Therefore, a critical component for success will be the timely maintenance of consolidated web resources so that individuals who enter the process at different phased can be informed of what went before.

The Continuum will be facilitated by economic partners – foundations; individuals and corporations- and content, dissemination and implementation partners – consumer organizations; federal agencies; online content platforms; and professionals associations. Each of these partners can support either the entire process or individual parts thereof. Moreover, depending on their expertise and interest, it is expected that partner will join with the SFG in the design and delivery of the various modules of the Continuum including all post-salon implementation activities.