For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 11, 2021
Contact: Anna Farrar, firstname.lastname@example.org, 954.647.7059
BOSTON, MA -- The community-driven movement to improve access to dental care across the nation has grown to include more than 100 partners, including the National Congress of American Indians, MomsRising, the National Rural Health Association and The Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Partnership for Dental Therapy (NPDT) announced today. From large national organizations to small community groups; from progressive organizers to free market think tanks; the diverse list of supporters are united by their belief that dental therapy is an equity-focused, cost-effective means of addressing a lack of dental care for far too many people across the U.S. Over 50 million Americans live in areas with a shortage of dental providers, a situation that has worsened in the past year as COVID-19 shuttered many dental practices or kept people away from ones that remained open.
Dental therapists work with dental hygienists and dental assistants under the supervision of a dentist to provide routine dental care in communities, where people live, work and learn. The providers are proven to expand access to dental care while creating jobs with minimal cost to the government. Dental therapists are working or authorized in 12 states but access to these providers remains blocked for many communities due to restrictive laws backed by special interest groups. Dental therapy has long enjoyed bipartisan support, including from President Biden’s campaign and the Trump administration. With the pandemic making health care harder than ever to access, the time is now to examine ways to lower costs, increase access to care and reduce the racial disparities in our health care system.
Stacy A. Bohlen, CEO, National Indian Health Board, said "The National Indian Health Board applauds Alaska Tribal leaders for having the vision to create the U.S.’s first dental therapy program that built an accessible pathway for community members to become oral health providers. This innovative, community-focused workforce has now spread across the country and is empowering long neglected communities to take back control of their oral health. NIHB is pleased to continue our support for more Tribal dental therapy programs and providers to help keep our people healthy and smiling."
Kristen Mizzi Angelone, senior manager, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Dental Campaign, said "We’re pleased to join the more than 100 organizations supporting dental therapy, which data and evidence continue to demonstrate is a cost-effective way to increase access to dental care. Twelve states have passed laws with bipartisan support; training programs are growing; and, despite the once-in-a-lifetime challenges of a global pandemic, the field of dental therapy made important strides last year to lay the foundation for progress for many years to come."
Sal Nuzzo, vice president of policy, The James Madison Institute, said, "We could not be more proud to be part of a movement to bring a free market solution to the lack of access to dental care in our nation. Not only are dental therapists vital to the dental care teams in states where they operate, but it is a profession that creates jobs and grows small businesses. Every state should authorize dental therapists immediately to increase access to affordable dental health care, increase jobs, and grow small businesses."
The NPDT is co-chaired by Community Catalyst, the National Indian Health Board and the National Coalition of Dentists for Health Equity.
View the full list of supporters here.