New Position Paper Series Focuses on COVID-19 Consequences

Examines the Role of Oral Health Care Providers in Current and Future Public Health Challenges

The Santa Fe Group, an action-oriented think tank seeking to improve lives through oral health, is publishing a series of position papers examining the impact of COVID-19 on the US population and health care providers.

Authored by Dr. E. Dianne Rekow, Professor Emerita, Fellow, and former Executive Dean of King’s College London, and Dr. Timothy L. Ricks, Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Dental Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, this first paper in the series analyzes the events from December 2019 through January 2021, with the next update scheduled to be released later this month.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the potential to undermine the public’s trust in health care professionals. However, these same situations can catalyze responses by health professionals to develop an even greater level of trust and thereby contribute to a coordinated response for the current and upcoming phases of the pandemic.

The Santa Fe Group is positioned to collaborate with other organizations to engender public trust in health care professionals, building back a stronger response to improve the health of the nation and accelerate recovery from this and future pandemics by:

  • Health care professionals, medical and oral health, together and separately, being outspoken, providing and advocating for clear, culturally sensitive, science-based, consistent health information and messaging to inform both policy and public-facing information.
  • Fully integrating oral health care professionals and other health care professionals into planning and response to future emergencies and pandemics, by having them contribute to the full scope of their training.
  • Oral health care professionals embracing the value of and implementing specific actions to define and drive policies for bi-directionally integrated oral health and primary care.

Download your copy of the position paper here: Click Here




Comments (1)

  • It is a well known fact that oral conditions contribute the overall health of an individual, and the contents of the oral cavity that harbor harmful micro-organisms such as Covid-19 and other diseases are created in the perfect growth environment of the mouth and are therefore, easily are easily transmitted to others in the aerosolization of oral fluids.
    The response to the Covid-19 Pandemic exposed the bare spots in our Health Care Provider System, and was evidenced by the critical lack of Professional integration between Medicine and Dentistry.
    The lines between Dentistry/Dental and other Health Care Professionals need to made more permeable by evaluating comparable curriculum content in each of the professions and finding commonalities. Cross training is possible especially with the curriculums’ of Nursing and Dental Hygiene especially in times of a National Health Care Emergency, like with Covid 19.
    Pre-Nursing and Pre-Dental Hygiene as well as Medicine and Dentistry all share a large number of Pre-requisite courses, so have in large part the same knowledge base. Furthermore, curriculum changes are more easily to accomplish in the Community College Setting in response to community needs.
    Accrediting Agencies like CODA (Council of Dental Accreditation) are actively encouraging Intra-professional Education and that is happening, but more needs to be done.
    Archaic rules of ‘”Supervision” do not protect the patient, but only extend the control of access to preventive health care, especially care that Nurses, Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists could provide in treating and preventing diseases and promoting health. These Health Care Professional can take Health Care to where people are living and working. It is time to remove the barriers to Total Health for all citizens.

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